Thursday, July 19, 2012

This is Where it All Began - Punta San Carlos, Baja

After a 5 years hiatus, we are finally back at Punta San Carlos (PSC). We started vacationing at PSC in 2000 when we took an epic road trip from Portland to PSC for a 2 week holiday.  We drove 6 of the 14 days, but in the end, it was all worth it. This place is where we learned about the possibility of a simple, adventure-filled life.  I think it was in 2003 when I said to Scott, "I want to do this all the time, not just for a few weeks of the year".  Back then, it really never occurred to me that we could make it happen.  The transformation happened slowly, but by 2009 we were done with the old life, and my 2003 dream had come true.

Our AstroTurf shanty town (2000)
Last night, during our happy hour chat with friends, Frank and Kim, we joked about the "early days" of San Carlos for all of us.  Frank talked about how he used to come here (starting 20 years ago) and camp in the back of his pickup.  He would take "showers" by heating up a pot of water and pouring it over his head in the cold, windy evening after windsurfing.  PSC is not a pleasant place to camp.  The wind often blows 20-30 mph all day and sometimes through the night.  Scott and I had a similarly simple setup during the first couple years.  Showering in the cold/wind was always a bit of a hassle, and trying to keep everything you owned from getting coated in dust and dirt was impossible.  Kim described her early days as a constant fight to keep her tarps from ripping due to all the flapping in the wind.  Frank and Kim met in San Carlos and 3 years ago got married.  Obviously, PSC has had a very serious impact on their lives as well.

Showers are no longer a hassle for any of us.  We are now setup in a downright posh situation. Our campers have refrigeration, hot showers, and solar power.  As an added bonus, Bill, who is currently parked next to us, shares his satelite internet with the few campers who are here.  My how things have changed.  Bill bought our old van 5 years ago when we were moving out of the country.  It was quite fun to have a look at our old adventure van.  He camps here 5 months of the year so the old van has a lot more rust on it than it did in 2008.  The old van is the one we lived in during our 2003, 1-year adventure around North America.

Bill's van (our old one) with his pimped-out satellite system.  Frank and Kim's posh a-frame trailer.
Based on what I've said so far, you may wonder what's so special about PSC.  Many would say PSC has the most perfect windsurfing wave in the world.  I'm sure there are better, but this place has an epic combination of wind and waves that can't be easily found. At the moment, other campers include a guy from Norway, Japan, and a couple from France. When it's not windy, we can mountain bike, surf, paddleboard, or fish.  As a bonus, there are tons of little seals that are particularly curious about the surfing/paddleboarding/kiting humans in their water.

The cliff never seemed like a problem,
until we got into kiteboarding
This year, we only have kiteboarding gear (vs. windsurfing), so PSC is a new challenge for us.  There is hardly any beach, so trying to launch/land a kite below or above a 20 foot cliff still scares the hell out of us.  In fact, if we want to launch the kite on the beach, we are limited by the tides .  If the tide is too high, we don't kite.  The wind is slightly offshore so if something goes wrong, you can't easily swim to shore against the wind.  The local fisherman charge $50-75 to rescue you or your gear. For these reasons, we're limiting our first kite-trip to PSC to 2 weeks. If things go well, we'll come back for a longer stay in September and October.

PSC 2012
El Tigre, Bill, Frank/Kim, and a Gium/Laticia (right to left)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I keep coming back just looking at the beautiful pictures and how beautiful it must be there,, the sun, sand and water. You guys are living the life. I wonder sometimes what your daily life is like, from most mornings until bedtime? What a awesome adventure. Thanks for sharing.