After easing into Mexico, and I mean really easing into it (there hasn’t even been a cell signal all week), we got our first taste of…. rough roads. It’s partially my fault for not thinking it through, and partially Jonathan’s fault for not listening, but we spent more time than we’d like to on discussing an absolutely awful road to start this week off.
Because we had chosen to go down the Eastern coast of Baja, rather than the Western, there’s a significant gap in civilization. It’s about 25 miles, and the road doesn’t really exist. Fine in a jeep. And e’d get over it in a Saxo. But in Milton? It was hell. No one spoke, not even Gogi. Half way through was Coco’s Corner, where some man had built a little store in the middle of nowhere. Why? I have no idea, but we stopped for some tension relief.
Finally, we reached Guerrero Negro. The first proper town we’d seen since passing through Mexicali at the border. They have a massive salt factory there, and apparently a very large Japanese presence (I assume for the salt?) but we had come for the whales. Ojo de Liebre lies about 10 miles out of town, and then another ten miles through the salt flats, down yet another rubbish road. I held my breath and didn’t make eye contact. Once there, you only pay $10 per car and then you can camp as long as you’d like for free, excellent! We came in with high hopes and low expectations for the whales, genuinely having no idea how many we would see and I got super hyped when I spotted my first one from the car. Little did we know…
We took a passenger boat out the next morning when the lake was calm, and we were… there’s no other way to say it, absolutely surrounded. They were everywhere! The whales come to the lagoons each year to give birth to their calves, and then teach them the ins and outs of life in a safe place, before continuing on their migration to Alaska. It was incredible. At first everyone was constantly snapping their photos, and then by the end of it, you just got used to it and were able to put down your camera and enjoy it. They swam next to our boat (and even under it a few times) and is an experience I highly, highly recommend - and a steal at $40.
Baja has been mostly desert so far, and there are even cacti growing next to the beach, so our next stop was quite a change. San Ignacio is a genuine oasis around a lagoon in the middle of the desert, and a very cool thing to pull into after seeing nothing but dirt for a few hours. After that it was onto the beach for some proper lounging.
My impressions of Baja so far are very different from what I initially expected. I didn’t expect there to be so few people, or so few towns for that matter. And we keep saying to one another the next town will be proper, the next town will have a proper grocery store and a cell signal. But, we’re wrong each time. Very wrong to be honest. Baja is a sparsely populated desert with questionable roads, but it’s beautiful, and a good way to ease into the next few years.