The Exped USA office is in Tacoma, western Washington. This means we are surrounded by every color of green vegetation imaginable. In fact, the state of Washington’s nickname is The Evergreen State. It really is very beautiful and invigorating, but after four or five months of the grey, rainy days that fuel this electric green we find that a mid-winter escape to a dry and sunny place can do wonders for our attitudes and restore our appreciation for the lush beauty of home.
Recently, a few of the Exped team and friends found just such a recharge session on a week-long kayak trip in Baja, Mexico. We flew in and out of Loreto and paddled around Isla del Carmen and Isla Danzante in the Gulf of California (aka the Sea of Cortez). As it turns out, early April is a great time to be on the water there. The winds of February have calmed a bit and the water temperature has increased, making snorkeling more comfortable. Nights are cool and the daytime temperatures are manageable, even for Pacific Northwesterners. We needed to take care to cover up while in the sun, but it was never uncomfortable. On the contrary, the entire trip was just what the doctor ordered!
As always, outings like these are a great opportunity to use Exped gear. With eight of us on the trip there was an amazing array in use. Here’s a list of the items of gear we put to the test in Baja, in transit as well paddling:
- Cloudburst 25 pack
- Slash 15 pack
- Transfer Wheelie Bag
- Galaxy Roller Duffle
- Stowaway Duffle
- Tempest Duffle
- Mini Belt Pouch and Travel Belt Pouch
- Nano Carry-All
- Fold Drybag, Fold Drybag CS, Fold Drybag BS
- Fold Drybag Endura and Shrink Bag Pro
- Fold Drybag First Aid
- Waterproof Compression Bag
- Crush Drybag
- Seal Sleeve
- Padded Zip Pouch, Zip Pack UL, Vista Organiser
- Mira II HL tent
- Gemini III tent
- Carina II tent
- Outfitter Tarp IV and Tarp Poles 240
- SynMat HL Duo and Airmat HL Duo
- SynMat UL
- MegaMat Lite 12
- MultiMat Uno and MultiMat Duo
- Schnozzel Pumpbag
- Mat Sheets
- Hyperquilt and Hyperquilt Duo
- Comfort 0 sleeping bags
- Air Pillow UL and Mega Pillow
- Sit Pad
Several items were particularly highly valued. The Outfitter Tarp kept us out of the sun around camp and MultiMats were very helpful when we camped on sandy beaches. We also brought along hand line rigs for fishing (ceviche for lunch!), snorkeling gear, many water bags, safety gear for paddling, camera gear, poop bags, sun clothing and sun hats(!) and binoculars. A big treat for everyone was that cell phones were turned off and stowed away the entire time!
It’s difficult to convey the power such a trip has on body and mind. This was a group of close friends (Canada, UK, USA), all accomplished paddlers. This made decision-making, safety and route planning very easy, freeing us to take in the beauty of our surroundings and contemplate our good fortune. After seven days on and in the water we returned home invigorated. Andy returned to England, Gina and Warren home to Vancouver, B.C., Marta to northern California, Lisa, Kate, Ted and Kaj back to western Washington. Of course, plans are already being made to get the band back together next year for another drying-out session!
Special thanks to Sea Kayak Baja Mexico (www.seakayakbajamexico.com
) for boat rentals, transport, route advice and expert local knowledge.