REMOTE BAJA CAMPING ADVENTURE REPORT FOR
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES AND ISLA ANGEL DE LA GUARDA
Jan. 6, 2006, Graham Mackintosh, Bahia de los Angeles and Isla Angel de la Guarda, Baja California, Mexico:
A couple of days of north wind at Bahia de los Angeles have prevented me from going out to Guardian Angel Island.
I am at Villa Bahia just north of Bahia de los Angeles, on the road to La Gringa. I can see the big island beckoning twenty miles across the channel. A panga will be coming to ferry me out there tomorrow or whenever the wind permits. I have decided to set up a base camp in a cove at Humbug Bay, locally Los Machos, in the middle of the island, along the west coast. After three or four weeks exploring from there I will probably move to different locations around the island either in my blue Cobra Tandem kayak or more likely by panga.
Today is much calmer inside Bahia de los Angeles, but out beyond the near islands there are some good waves running. I have total confidence in my panguero; he predicted as much yesterday, but thinks Saturday will be the day for the crossing. He came to that conclusion by taking into account the moon and the clouds, and studying Bahia de los Angeles from an elevated point on the road to town. I reached the same verdict by looking at the weather forecast on the internet.
I have an abundance of time, and Baja has taught me patience. I am putting the days to good use talking to some of the knowledgeable folks here at the bay and doing a little research on line. I also took a couple of long hikes, including out to the rugged shore north of La Gringa, to break in my boots and recover a little lost fitness.
As a reminder about the power of the wind, I watched an inflatable left on the beach suddenly tumble down to the water and go somersaulting out towards the islands! My campsite on the island will need to be sheltered from the north and west winds and I'll need shade. Even with hat and sunscreen, being fair of face my skin will not appreciate being exposed to two months of wind and sun.
Unless there are compelling reasons to locate elsewhere, such as finding a camp with loaded pangas, I'll be at the narrowest part of the island at Humbug Bay, I guess about 15 miles or so north of Este Ton, a wonderful little sheltered cove on the west side. That was my initial first choice location but a glance at a satellite map suggests it is so rugged there that getting along the coast on foot or into the mountains will be a challenge. Humbug Bay is the best place to hike right across the island. I shouldn't have to climb much over 1000 feet.
Luckily at this time of year I shouldn't see too many rattlesnakes, but all accounts suggests that they are there in numbers and one subspecies is huge compared to its peninsula cousin, probably because of the absence of predators and its proclivity for dining on large endemic chuckwallas.
I'm taking 45 or 50 gallons of fluids, mostly water! And I'll have enough food for two months, especially as I'll be fishing most every day. But those chuckwallas might look tasty if all else fails and giant rattlers will go a long way too.
Say hi if you motor by. I have a marine VHF handheld radio. If I'm not up in the mountains and anyone is close by I'll monitor channels 16, 68 and 72.