Winter in the northwest can get rainy. Longing for some sun and always wanting to go to the Baja peninsula, we headed for Mexico. We knew it was a world famous kayaking location and wanted to try it with the packrafts. We looked at the maps and found a suitable island, with deep bays, that was perfect for packrafts. I also wanted to test the Packraft Table and the Windpaddle Sail and try fishing and sailing in the Sea of Cortez. We contacted an outfitter who could drop us off on our island, and then we started packing for the trip. We finally got it all down to 2 packs and a small roller bag.
We were staying in town for 2 days to explore the city, experience the culture, and finish packing for the trip. As we were doing that, we both got sick. Kristy got a little stomach bug on the first night and I got wiped out for 24hrs on the second day. We had to postone our island drop off and pick up where we left off, just 1 day behind. We headed to a local grocery store and picked up all the food for our trip. Being in mexico we decided for some tortillas, rice, and beans, as well as some Mountain House favorites.
We headed over to the outfitters 1 day behind, rented white-gas, pfd's, and got ready to head out. We had to re-shuffle our boat ride out there and ended up going with his cousin's tour company. Also that day turned out to be perfect weather that allowed us to circumnavigate the island by boat and swim with the sea lions!
The outfitter pulled out a table and we ended up having a farewell lunch on our beach, before he dropped us off. He gave us some great advice about how to keep away from bugs and avoid snakes in the area. Then he left and it was just us two on this remote beach on a Mexican island in the Sea of Cortez. We hiked around and explored the cactus and got our bearings for where we needed to start packrafting tomorrow. The sun was starting to go down and we set up camp. As the sun started to set we could tell it was going to be beautiful. We scrambled up some rocks and watched one of the most amazing sunsets of my life.
We woke up early the next morning, on Kristy's birthday, and starting packrafting. We started early to take advantage of the calmer seas and avoid the gusty afternoon winds. We loaded all the water on the Packraft Table and it worked great! The surface was also very handy for putting my camera, sunglasses, snacks, as well as a good place to keep the map out to chart us along our path.
It was great paddling and we moved a long faster than we had anticipated. The water was crystal clear and gorgeous to be out on during sunrise. After about 2 hours of paddling we arrived at our next beach we would be camping at.
We set up camp and I immediately wanted to go fishing. I paddled out to the end of the bay; however, the north wind started to gust pretty strong. It was too dangerous to fish in, especially from a packraft. I decided to make the best of it and bust out the Windpaddle sail. It was perfect for sailing.
After that, we decided to hike up and get a lay of the land. We hiked up the side of the canyon and got to peek over the other side into a huge lagoon as well as get a birds eye view of the bay we were camping in.
We hiked back down, ate some great bean and rice tortillas, and fell asleep to an amazing star show. The next morning it was up early again to packraft further down the coast. It was incredible to packraft next to huge pink cliffs that were carved from the relentless sea.
We packrafted further down the rocky coast to the bay we were getting picked up in, the next morning. After 2.5 hours, we arrived at another beautiful white sand beach. We tested out some other packraft prototype products we brought with us and went out snorkeling. We both got in the Alpacka unrigged explorer and paddled out to the reef. We both jumped off and swam around for an hour and then returned to the packraft. We also sailed a little that evening and Kristy was worn out. She decided to head back to camp and I decided to head out fishing for one last evening. I had put my line in and was trolling a Rapala lure, when all of the sudden two dolphins came swimming right at my boat and shot underneath of it. I didnt know what I had just seen, until they surfaced on the other side of me and jumped out of the water. I immediately reeled in my line and started to paddle towards them. Then I see the rest of the pod coming up to me. 15-20 dolphins passed within 40 yards of the front of my packraft. They jumped into the air and did full 180's, showing off and looking for fish. It was an unforgettable moment to encounter them and watch them swim off into the sunset.
Although I was not able to reel in a fish from the Sea of Cortez, I did have an amazing encounter with dolphins. I was happy with that and with the sun just about set, paddled back to camp. We had paddled down to the southern most point of the island and could see the main Baja peninsula. The mountains were majestic. We enjoyed one last sunset in the Sea of Cortez before we would be picked up the next morning.
Turns out, the next morning the gentleman picking us up was told to look for two kayakers, but didnt understand that our "kayaks" fit in our backpacks. We watched him through the binoculars as he missed us and left. We had to flag down a scuba boat to call him back.
Author : Jon Dykes
Inventor of the packraft table