Home: Playa Buenaventura beachside palapa
Morning revealed more of Playa Buenaventura’s unique charms, with the most color-painted sky we’ve seen on the bay. And the large pelican population was active early and often, letting us know that all the life we saw under the water during yesterday’s wade was not just a local fluke; there was easy fishing to be had here.
We had only event on the docket today: Taco Tuesday! A Playa Buenaventura tradition, this was another example of why we wanted to travel without time limits. “Taco Tuesday is tomorrow, and it’s Monday? Sure, let’s stay another day!” It’s a social event for the whole Bahia Concepción community, with live music, a jewelry vendor, a restaurant packed with people driving from several beaches away (if not Mulege), plenty of beers and margaritas, of course tacos, and….it starts at 11am on a Tuesday! This is not an indication of “in this part of Baja, any time is party time!”, as it also winds down by 3pm, and only happens once a week; rather, it’s more an example of “early to rise and early to bed” plus “days of the week are irrelevant to the people here”. So sure, why not Tuesday at 11am?
It was 90% gringo of course, but it was fun to meet some more long-termers who sat at our table. Surprisingly, two of them had been WarmShowers hosts! Who lived in the purple house at the end of the beach in Posada that we had used as a kayaking turn-around point over a week ago! They were not cyclists themselves, but had a friend who was, and they thought it just sounded like a cool way to help out adventurers. Unfortunately an experience with a cyclist who, on Christmas Day, showed up anyway against their wishes, and then stayed for 11 days, soured them on experience and they took their house off the list. Understandable, but unfortunate, especially because it would not have been difficult for that jerk of a cyclist to find a place to camp around here!
Then we were excited when Greg and Donna, our neighbors from Estucasa turned up. It had only been 24 hours since we had seen them, but that was long enough to feel like we were catching up on the latest. The big news was more dolphins in their bay this morning, and they were excited to show us video of Greg out on the paddleboard in their midst.
It’s inspiring how people stay continually excited about their surroundings here. Greg and Donna have been on the beach since November, so you’d almost think they’d become indifferent to dolphins in the bay, like how people in a central-city subway walk head-down past a violin virtuoso without even noticing. Or at least pretend to be indifferent, because it shows how worldly and experienced they are if they don’t act excited by exciting things. We’ve also heard from at least six different people about the whale shark sightings at Playa Coyote. People are similarly excited about that, and they also want to spread the word (via the only “social media” that exists here) so that newcomers like us don’t miss out. And I guess unregulated expression of feeling pretty well illustrates the difference between Baja living and non-Baja living.
When we returned to our camp, the north wind was howling just like it had come up yesterday afternoon, justifying my decision to guy-out the tent. But the gustless torrent of air kept increasing in strength as we stood there, well-exceeding anything from yesterday and crashing white-topped waves onto the rocks, so we decided to lower the tent in-place and shelter in our chairs behind one of the low palapa walls. But then just like yesterday, after an hour or so the whitecaps disappeared and the wind reduced to a.comforting breeze. So the tent came back up to provide a napping spot for Rett.
As the sun got lower, the fish really must have started to gather, because the pelicans came out in force, altering their flap-and-splash feeding behavior from the morning into full-on dive-bombing. With the relaxed day, I had far more time to just sit and learn about some wildlife via observation (and take photos) than I have had for a long time. I learned that they they would take off, fly a few loops to gain altitude, then a downward-pointing beak would be the signal that they were looking for a target and preparing to dive, and then, whether it was the day’s wind or light conditions, or just their in-born habit, would exclusively make a sharp corkscrew to the left to enter their dive. And then, SPLASH! I couldn’t tell how often they hit their targets, but they seemed to be doing pretty well.
After dinner we set up our chairs on the rock spit going into the water to eat our desserts, and Tabitha, who, with Tony, had set up in the other palapa, came over and asked if we wanted our picture taken. Not because we were awkwardly trying to selfie, but because she saw my big camera, and with her artistic eye, saw a cool photo of us. Yes, that’s even better, thank you!
We did some quick Baja-bonding with them, hastened by the sad coincidence of Rett and Tabitha both being on a journey to ease the pain from losing a loved one within a week of each other last year. They had a lot of fun questions like many people do, but unlike many people, had an additional idea: let’s play a game! We again made great use of our rare picnic table, and learned to play a fun round of “The Bears and the Bees”. That’s sure something we haven’t done out here yet, and “Game Night” and “Taco Tuesday” all in one day on this beautiful beach was a pretty awesome mix of settled-life and nomad-life.
Just as we’re breaking up the party and heading to bed, some headlights pull up to our palapa. It turns out to be two guys on motorcycles, looking for information about camping/lodging. One American and one maybe Israeli, it sounded like they had just met at some point on the highway, and (as we later-calculated) had likely been riding for at least 13 hours. Because they were in Yuma, Arizona this morning, which was really difficult to comprehend. They seemed (understandably) a bit woozy, a bit punch-drunk, and mid-conversation, the Israeli guy gazes up and says “whoa…look at all the stars!” I say “yeah, and if you think that’s cool, wait until you see the bioluminescence in the water!” They respond excitedly, but not about the bioluminescence, which doesn’t even register with them. Instead they both exclaim: “Water?!? Is there water near here?” Um, yeah, it’s 20 feet away right over there!
Thank you crazy motorcycle dudes for reinforcing our belief that our slow-travel is the way to go! Motoring blindly through the dark for three hours, completely oblivious to the existence of the Bahia Concepción just to their left, much less the beauty of its beaches, with obviously zero opportunity to enjoy any of what we spent the last nine days soaking up, seems nuts. I have no idea what their travel goals were, and I know I shouldn’t judge the travel styles of others, but damn, they sure are doing it wrong. Though in the end, I suppose they’re probably better off if they remain in the dark about all that they missed! With this being our last night on Bahia Concepción, we will separately be now answering the question: “is it better to have loved and lost, or never to have loved at all?”