I am an intermediate level open water kayaker and am planning a long (several month) tour down the Sea of Cortez coast of Baja. We will also be making excursions across open water to some of the midrift islands. My two companions and I are looking for an outfitter or school that can do a 3-5 day course on navigation, rescue, advanced paddling techniques and the like. I am particularly interested in Monterey Bay, but anywhere in California will support time and travel requirements. I would be very interesten in any of your recomendations!
Contact Jen Kleck at Aqua Adventures
San Diego. She might be able to set up a custom class for you. She offers Baja instructional workshops every winter also. A great teacher.
If San Diego Will Do
Try Jen Kleck at Aqua Adventures. BCU 5* and Level 5 Coach. Tons of experience in Mexico & worldwide and a darned nice person. www.aqua-adventures.com
For Monterey area, consider Roger Schumann of Eskape Sea Kayaking. Likely you would set up a custom class with him for your team. He is based in Santa Cruz area. Most of NorCal's instructors (myself included) were trained by him. http://eskapekayak.com/ He has lots of guiding and expedition experience.
Jen Kleck at Aqua Adventures, mentioned above, would also be a good option, though not near Monterey. I think most of her Baja experience is Pacific Coast (not Sea of Cortez), but I could be wrong.
You could consider contacting Ginni Callahan, who has been guiding and teaching down in the Sea of Cortez for many years now (but spends her summers, when Baja is too hot, in Oregon - if the timing works for when she is going back south to do this, she has lots of local knowledge on top of the kayaking skills): https://seakayakbajamexico.com/what-makes-us-special/guides-coaches/
There are some folks at California Canoe and Kayak (Bay Area) would could do a good job. Specifically, Sean Morley (first to lap UK by kayak, held the speed record for lapping Vancouver Island) and maybe Matt Krizan (has paddled entire CA coast). Both have lots of expedition experience,and serious kayak skills. Lots of other good instructors there, but not as much expedition time.
Fabulous paddler, great coach, and super nice guy. Jen is equally superb, but it sounds like Roger is a better fit location-wise. Can’t go wrong either way.
these pages for a program near your area
Navy Seal trainig probably has great fitness and survival type training, but definitely not something I’d consider for “navigation, rescue, advanced paddling techniques”, as the OP requested.
Half Moon Bay
One of the instructors has paddled Baja extensively.http://www.hmbkayak.com/
California Canoe and Kayak had some good instructors years ago, and probably do now. They have changed over almost completely to kayaking.
Liquid Fusion Kayaking
Jenn at Aqua-Adventures is first rate instructor with lots of knowledge of Baja.
In Northern California check out Liquid Fusion Kayaking with Jeff Laxier. Jeff used to work with Jenn at AA for many years and I learned how to roll and did several trips to Baja with him. He now has his own business in Ft. Bragg and will tailor instruction to what you want/need. Jeff is one of the best instructors out there in my opinion and the Ft Bragg area will give you much more variety in conditions and challenges to give you real preparation.
Pass - New owners not great .
CCK has been, and still is, owned by Keith Miller. Since late 70s or early 80s. He is an interesting character, but you rarely need to interact with him (probably a good thing).
CCK recently took over Aquan Sports in San Carlos (where I was an instructor). The owner of Aquan was a very nice guy, but CCK is more kayak focused, so this was not necessarily a bad thing.
Programs at CCK are now run by Sean Morley. And the instructors under him are generally top notch, though not all have experience in long expeditions and/or Baja. But they likely could put together a good program for the OP. I’d still put Roger Schumann as the top choice, but CCK would be second choice for local to the area.
Full disclosure - I do not teach for CCK, but every once in a rare while do assist Roger Schumann. I know and regularly paddle with many of the instructors at CCK.
Sea of Cortez
I’ve done a few lessons from Aqua Adventures. A previous poster is correct that she mostly does the Pacific side of Baja, but the classes are good to have anywhere if you do choose to learn in San Diego.
I’ve done Bahia de Concepcion (Coyote Bay specifically) in April for 10 days - calm conditions and the water was about 70. Had some awesome (and unexpected) whale shark encounters there and beautiful, cheap beaches where you can camp.
Friend did Bahia de Los Angeles in February and it was really treacherous - windy and cold water. Not sure if it was just the time of year or what.
I’m hoping to get back down to Concepcion in November. It was heaven on earth for paddlers!
needs more experience.
Mexican tourists need Ranger training.
an oil refinery
Now I understand
Would not have made the connection if you didn’t clarify. Unfortunately, you might be right that security issues need to be considered.
a Mexican approved TOUR AFAIK, safe. Know any complainees on approved tour routes ?
Asking Americans in Mexico and tourers how the trip is going is similar to asking fishermen how’s the fishing ?
This situation is everywhere from Glacier to Goose Island but there are no police in Mexico and a bad attitude.
As one said, " worst buncha rednecks…"
Liquid Fusion Kayaking
up in Fort Bragg. Jeff Laxier is an awesome water man and teacher
I got to spend a season in Baja
Paddling the sea of Cortez side. Lots of amazing beach-desert camping, fairly benign (knock on wood) conditions unless a Norte is blowing through. Can get rough quickly with the Nortes. Best to start early, get on the water at daybreak to avoid afternoon winds, hit camp early and swim snorkel to cool off. My biggest concern would always be water, bring lots and know where to get more. A gallon per person per day is good planning. Navigation is pretty easy, wake up and go right, unless you're heading north. Skip the tent and just bring a good dark colored tarp, tarp poles, ground cloth, and a bivy for if the wind is kicking. A little disconcerting at first sleeping out in the open, but after a night or two you'll love it.
It’s been on my list, now to make it happen.