Shark! No, wait… Whale Shark! (Feb 29 2016)

It’s Leap Day. Last night, the dreaded Red Light came on. The next thing will be a Blinking Red Light, then a loud warning buzzer and then a Very Dead House Battery. How did yesterday’s generator use fail to charge it up?

Before dawn, the Red Light becomes a Blinking Red Light. I have to crawl out of bed to turn off the fridge.

It’s decision time after coffee: do we run up to Mulege and pick up supplies? Or do we pack and move on? We’re not really ready to move on so it will be a drive into Mulege. Who knows how much that will charge the battery, but it should be enough for another night.

As I begin packing up to go to town, I discover the ant nest in the cabinet holding our juice and water. We picked them up on the door mat, probably in El Juncalito. They are all over the cabinet, and now, the kitchen, so I spend a few frenzied moments squishing as many as I can.

We get caught in a the middle of a Big Rig Caravan as they come out of Santispac. The speed comes down to a crawl as we approach Mulege, each Big Rig carefully going over the topes.

DSC05938In Mulege, we get groceries and other supplies, then have breakfast of huevos a la Mexicana. They are like huevos a la Mexicana anywhere: scrambled eggs mixed with diced onion, tomato and peppers, with a side of refried beans and salsa. But unlike most mainland breakfasts, you get a choice of flour or corn tortillas. In Baja, flour tortillas are far more common than on the mainland. (Careful how you say the name of this dish. “Huevos del Mexicano” will have you asking for Mexican testicles!)

DSC05554The Pemex just out of Mulege has no running water in the bathroom sink so Big Dog shaves with the water from a garden hose. I rinse off my legs. With no fresh water at El Requeson, I am completely salt-encrusted and feeling like a sea turtle.

DSC05940From the highway, we can see Bahia Concepcion below. It is stunning.

“This really IS the gem of the Baja,” we agree. It is filled with the loveliest coves, gorgeous blue water, sandy beaches, lagoons, mangroves and islands. In fact, I think it is the best area in the whole of Baja. If only we had power and fresh water. We could hang out here forever.

DSC05962When we get back to camp, I want to take the kayak out right away.

“Come on, let’s go!” I nudge Big Dog. “The water is so still and glassy right now!”

DSC05967I had heard someone talking about dolphins beyond the south point, so we head in that direction. And that’s when I see it up ahead. A… fin? Protruding, then receding, protruding and receding.

“Dolphin?” I ask, not at all convinced that it is.

“I think it’s a shark,” says Big Dog.

“But sharks move side to side. This thing is going up and down.”

Just then, I see the Biggest Longest Shadow in the water. It had to be more than 20 feet and the kayak is heading straight into it! Yikes!

When we are closer, I see spots on the shadow and can properly identify it as a whale shark. It wasn’t a fin we were seeing but part of its tail.

The whale shark glides right under the kayak. It is so freaky and yet so awe-inspiring. Just the sheer size of the creature makes you hold your breath. And the pectoral fins are unbelievably big and wide. From fin tip to fin tip it is much wider than our kayak. The head is also huge and wide.

“And we don’t have our camera!” moans Big Dog. In my rush to get out on the water, I had told him not to bother with it.

Big Dog begins rowing back to shore. I think it’s a lost cause and would rather just spend more time with Mr. Whale Shark, but he thinks he can get the camera and go back. Maybe we will meet Whale Shark again, who knows.

We don’t. (But we do see a large adult sea turtle popping up a couple of times for air.)

Later, I read about how rare it is for whale sharks to come up to the surface. What luck!

Big Dog wants to go clamming for more clams but doesn’t want to alert the other campers so we wait until the big group of European daytrippers go home before walking out to the sand spit point. There are lots of clams and we are getting good at locating them. They seem to be at the water’s edge, where the sand begins to slope up.

Most of the original campers are gone. It may be time for us, too.

DSC05952

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Author: ontheroadwithsprockets

I've been traveling since I was born -- the first big trip was before I was two, across the Pacific, from my native Japan to Los Angeles on a cargo ship. There have been many journeys since then, through many continents and cultures.

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