We spent over two fun-packed weeks kayak exploring coastline along the Baja Peninsula in the Sea of Cortez. Our goal was to have some fun day trips from a base camp and also paddle another section of coast. We were able to do both with the help of a friend who made it possible to drop off our shuttle car at the southern end of our coastal route - Bahia de los Angeles.
Our day camps were located near Punta Final at Bahia San Luis Gonzaga and in Bahia de los Angeles. From these camps we did some great day and over night paddles to explore a hyper saline lagoon, go diving, see finback whales, and paddle with whale sharks.
The section of coast we paddled was about 90 miles between Bahia San Luis Gonzaga and Bahia de los Angeles. This was a 7 day paddle with three days forced on shore 30 miles from anywhere due to heavy winds and the resulting high seas. I'm working on another article on this trip for Sea Kayaker magazine. Though they have yet to accept it they did publish an article in the December issue about our last Baja trip kayaking the Colorado River Delta (see: http://www.seakayakermag.com).
To get to the hyper saline lagoon that’s located along the Baja shore line we paddled south from our day camp in Bahia Gonzaga. We made this short paddle an over night trip so we had room in our kayaks for SCUBA gear, two tanks, food water and camping gear. For diving with the sea lions in Bahia de los Angeles, we hired a panga and local guide to make it easy ($130.00 for half a day - two dives and whale watching - split three ways).
As for beach landings between Bahia Gonzaga and Bahia de los Angeles - There are lots of beaches that are sandy at high tide but rocky at low tide, so you just have to take your chances. Ideally, you start paddling at low tide and arrive at your goal at high tide. Ideally... The best thing is to start paddling before sun up and get in as many miles as you're comfortable with before the afternoon onshore winds kick in or when you find a perfect beach. Or, get in before the waves are too big for landing with your skill level. I don't doubt there are kayakers out there who would have loved landing and launching in the seas that kept us shore-bound, but we chose to be safe on shore, knowing the limits of our skill levels and the potential complications of injury or a broken boat so far from help.
As for water, we took 8 gallons each for the 90 miles. We figured we could do it in 5 days, but planned to have extra just in case. Given the strength and duration of the norther that blew through, I'm glad we did.
We’ve begun posting photos and videos of this last trip here: http://www.bajatrekker.com/phpbb/index.php
What kind of a kayak can you put 2 scuba tanks, back pack or BCD, weights, mask, fins, camping gear plus food in? That's a lot even if the tanks are 63 cuft.
I tried to find a picture of your kayak. The loaded kayak would have made a good picture.
I have dived a lot in the Sea of Cortez and used my Yamaha Waverunner for transportation with the dive gear tied and strapped in a towed 2 man raft. Isla San Jose and surrounding islands are my favorite.
Remember, this part of the trip was simply an over-nighter and about 12 miles round trip. My brother and his friend each carried one tank plus their scuba gear and camping basics in their kayaks and I carried the bulk of the food, water and other camping gear. I didn't dive on this overnighter, but served as ground support. I have a Seda Amigo (500lb capacity) so my kayak can be considered the 'barge' for these kinds of trips, carrying tons of gear. I also bought it because I tend to carry an excessive amount of bulky camera and video gear. I'll look for a photo to post on the website.
Though, the idea of using a wave runner to haul gear sounds appealing!
Just don’t forget to plug
the rooster tail hole if it is a Yamaha. The rooster tail is only for show and has no mechanical advantage or use but it will fill a raft on a few minutes.
The Sea of Cortez is by far the best year round place for diving on the west coast of the Americas from Alaska to the Cape.
Sounds like you have a great trip.