Todos Santos Todos Santos
Pumping waves is what the morning brought. I got up before first light this morning and got perfect shoulder high little barrels at San Miguel, one other guy out. burr. I was sat out there just like, this is the dream right here, great location, great waves, great food… that was another highlight of the day, proper fish tacos… omnomnomnom… even thinking about them is making my mouth water: 60 cents each. that is like less than 50p, and they are soo0oo good. and you can just chuck as much salsa and guaca and lettuce and, burrrrr I just cant wait to eat some more tomorrow!
Anyway! So Skee and Roxy were heading off to do their thing in Ensenada but I still wanted to hang out and eat breakfast and stuff, so we exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up somewhere in the desert… we could have gone together, we were all doing the same thing, we needed visas, food, wifi and new phones (for some reason only Mexican phones work in Mexico…) but they were leaving as I was getting out my suit so it didn't make sense for them to wait around for hours for me (I needed breakfast), plus they didn't want to stay in Ensenada tonight, whereas I was making plans to get out to the islands.
I did eventually make it to Ensenada, but it was a lot bigger and more confusing than I thought it would be! I pretty much got lost for like an hour, just driving around to random places and asking if they knew where I could get a visa. I did eventually find it, but it was really obscure! Not sing posted at all, and the writing on the door didn't even say anything about tourism! But there we go! When I eventually got it done I treated myself to a couple of fish tacos and went to get some wifi.
I just snuck in to Starbucks and sat behind a pillar where they couldn't see me, Free wifi. boom. didn't even have to get a coffee, although I wanted one! The next stop was phone. To tell you the truth I’m still not 100% sure what happened to what I did, but after going to a few shops and faffing about trying to speak Spanish, I managed to get a phone, but Im not sure on the deal I made. Im pretty sure I have like 40 dollars credit that will last for ever… but I cant be sure… I suppose I will find out eventually…
It didn't take long for taco time to come again, and I didn't wimp out this time, I went for 5. I tell ya, I coulda eaten 10, infact I could have eaten 20! They were that good, I had found a cool little taco stand down a side street where I had seen a few Mexicans go, so my assumption that it would be good was correct!
The trouble I am having now is trying to get a boat out to the islands. you have to rent a Panga for 200 dollars, and the pangas can take 4 people, but if you don't have 4 people then you have to pay the full 200! Which I cant afford to do… even 50 dollars is pushing it! I have called someone from Wahoo, and hopefully they will make a space for me, but I’m going to go down to the docks for 6 in the morning to try see what I can do!
so yeah! With any luck I will be getting Pumping waves out at Todos santos tomorrow! Wish me luck!
I woke up before dawn again, anticipation jerking me awake when my alarm sounded. With any luck, in a few hours I would be on a Panga racing out to Todos Santos! I hadn't unpacked anything the night before, so I just rolled in to the drivers seat and headed to the port.
I got to the harbour as the first hint of light appeared over the hills. Ensenada was still asleep as I walked past the pontoons, looking for a likely target. I had been told about Wahoo by Gary Linden, so I kept my eye open for them. I could see there were lots of boats waiting to take people, but I also couldn't see any surfers… I was hoping there would be a few people here so I could share a boat.
I found Pedro, a wahoo Panga driver, and told him I wanted to head out to Todos, but only with a couple of guys to share the cost. He said that was fine, and that I was quite early, and more people would turn up.
Sure enough, while I was getting my stuff together in the car park, a truck rolled up with guns hanging out the back. In the cab were two guys, one older and one younger, they looked around 55 and 30 and I assumed they were father and son. I went over to them when they parked. As I suspected they were heading out to the island,and would be happy to split the cost of a Panga!
They turned out to be Shaun and John, a cool father and son duo from California. They had been following the swell and were hoping to get some good sized waves today. the forecast was saying 10-12 ft, which mean killers could potentially have some solid waves, around 20-25 ft which would be a dream!
We were pretty excited. The tide was looking good and there didn't seem to be anyone else about! the swell had been forecast to be bigger earlier in the week, so we thought a lot of people may have bailed due to that fact. As it happened, we were the first boat to leave the harbour when we we did get going.
The sun was just up as we set out. There was hardly a breath of wind, and the ocean seemed like an undulating sheet of glass as we sped towards our destination. The picturesque Islas de Todos Santos were catching the morning light on the horizon. When we were about half way out, we met our first set. A solid 10ft ground swell which went rolling by beneath us. Excitement was building for this perfect morn.
The Islas are two, and are rather small to say the least. Situated about 12 miles of the coast of Ensenada is the south Island. A beautiful, mountainous island with nothing but a small military outpost and 4 or 5 sick waves depending on tide and swell direction. Across a small channel of water, no more than 100 meters wide, is the north island. The north island is completely flat, like giant came along with a machete and decided he wanted a chunk for himself. It is home to an amazing old light house, and one of the most legendary big wave spots on the planet; Killers.
It was through the channel that Pedro took us. Killers came in to view as we passed between the islands, it was almost like the ocean knew how excited we were, for at that precise moment, a set came marching in. The sun was glistening of the crystal blue water as the clean 20ft set detonated of the rocks at the top of the point. The sun was out, the waves were pumping, and there was not a soul to be seen.
We had that first magical hour to our selves. Pedro had anchored in the channel, and we were hooting each other in to the epic, big, right handers which were rifling down the point. eventually a few more people turned up, but we were never more than a hand full all day. we must have surfed for 6 or 7 hours easily. We had food and water on the boat, but when I got hungry I just stayed in my suit, grabbed some food and water and got back out there! I had a couple of super fun big drops, and some great wally smaller ones. I did however get my ass handed to me more than a few times.
Todos Is super exposed, so gets all the raw power of the Pacific ocean battering its coast line. The waves were far more powerful than those on land, power I can only compare to other island waves I have surfed like in Madeira and Hawaii. Being over excited and probably over confident after surfing Mavericks, I pushed it a bit harder than I should have. Taking of on waves I was never going to make, pulling in to big close outs, not to mention getting caught inside for one of the bigger set which came through that day! But it was all good fun, and when the time came to start back we all grinning from ear to ear.
I met a few cool guys out there, like Mike & Scott who was taking a couple of pictures and surfing too. There was this one guy who came out on a jet ski, Diego (Pertusso). We got on really well, chatting out back between waves, he is a big wave surfer living in Southern Baja. Todos is his favourite wave, he comes here every winter to stay for the season and surf it as much as possible. He was staying in San Miguel and said that if I wanted I could go out with him tomorrow on the jet ski! It would be smaller, but there are still loads of fun, uncrowded waves to be had, and its always twice the size as the mainland.
I was frothing, so when we parted ways I gave him my number and told him to look out for my truck in the morning. He said he could see the camp site from his room so he would just give me a shout when he was leaving.
The ride home was as nice as the ride out, the only difference being that the sun was setting rather than rising. The islands were silhouetted against the orange sky to give a beautiful end to an epic day. We grabbed a celebratory fish taco from a stand near by before saying our goodbyes. I had had a great day with Shaun and John. It is amazing how many great people you run in to when you are travelling on your own. I just seem to be stumbling from one amazing coincidence to another!
Any way, the day sure had been a long and tiring one, so I was in be as soon as I got to the campsite. With that ache all over your body you get from a long day in the sea, sure as heck is a good feeling.
I can tell you right now that Todos Santos is a special place. this day was remarkably similar to the one before, with only a few changes.
The first was my transport method. Diego came to call on me at about half 7/8, we were in no rush as the waves were small and the tide later. San Miguel was about waist high, maybe the odd head high set coming thru. Using Diego’s rule, that meant Killers would be at least double over head, if not more! We headed to the harbour with some excitement. Diego launched from a different harbour to the one I had left from the day before (this was another difference), it is actually closer, but smaller so not many Pangas leave from there.
We got the ski in to the water and blasted out to the island, taking about half the time it took in the Panga. Yet again we pulled up to the perfect right hand point. No one out. Pumping.
It was small enough to ride my 6’6 which was exciting, for I have only surfed it a couple of times. It went super well, it is actually probably my favourite board at the moment, I just love everything about it. I rode it as a quad for speed, but I probably didn't need to as the thing was so fast any way!
But yeah, another great day, surfed for about 5 maybe 6 hours this time, Some lovely little tubes coming in. I snapped my leash towards the end of the session which sucked, I got washed onto the boulders and got battered. Somehow my board was pretty much un touched which was crazy seeing as I had come in the same way and must have hit every rock in the point! It gave me an opportunity to walk around a bit, and take in the beauty of the wave from afar.
A few other guys did turn up as we were getting in. But again there was never more than a handful all day. I said hello to a nice looking guy, he looked kind of familiar but that happens to me a lot so I just ignored it. He was South African from his accent, we exchanged pleasantries, but he suddenly started looking really familiar, I couldn't place it. He was looking at me weird as well, and the he said “i’m sorry but do I know you?!”
“I was literally just thinking how familiar you look” I replied
“ah shut bru! we were out in Ireland with Cotty last winter!”
And he was right! It suddenly all can back! “Frank was it??” I was surprised that I could remember his name, as usually that never happens!
Frank had been chasing the swell out in Ireland with me, Cotty and Mikey. We had spent a few days locked up against the cold and driving around on jet skis. What are the chances of meeting him out on a different island of the coast of Baja! To think, he could have just decided to go out the day after and we would have never known! What a small world it is.
Anyway, we were chatting away. Turns out the day after I left, he and a mate went down to Rileys and he broke his back! Had to climb back up the cliff and everything! Can you imagine!. This was one of the first times he had surfed since it happened.
Unfortunately he had to get back up to America that night, so we couldn't hang out for more than the surf. It was a good surf though! By then end I could hardly paddle and my legs were cramping up. After snapping my leash and getting washed up the rocks I decided to call it a day. Diego was shot as well, so we hopped back on the ski and made course for home.
And so ended another pserfect day of amazing weather and even better waves.