The turn of for Santa Rosalillita came up so suddenly I almost missed it. The easiest way to Punta Cono was to drive in from the south, taking the near 70 mile dirt track up from Punta Santa Rosalita. I stopped to grab a bit of food and to let down my tires again. I had a feeling this would be a long old drive.
It started out mostly fine, the dirt track being regularly graded by the miners who drove that way, but eventually you got passed the point where the miners gave up. This was where the going got a little tricky, I realised that the 4x4 advice wasn't to be taken lightly. I felt bad for poor old Brucie. Although he has good clearance, the guy who owned him before had put booster steps on the side to make it easier to get in to the cab. Hanging down much lower than all else, they took most of the beating. Though they are useless, It is still sad to see them all bent and broken as they are now. Other than that I did relatively alright, nothing major to report. At the very end he wouldn't idle well, so I think all the dirt and dust has gotten to him…
But I made it! It took bloody ages, but I made it! And what a place it is! As I descended in to the dry, dusty riverbed, I could see the rocky point curving around to form the south facing crescent bay at the end of a long west facing, white sandy beach. The point and surrounding hills were very sharp, like they had seen a lot of wind and sun. Rocks, sand and cacti my only company. Well, that and the perfect, sand bottomed, reeling right handers wrapping in to the bay. It made for a beauty which I'm not all too familiar with, but amazing nonetheless.
Of course the beauty of the wave I was very familiar with. As I jumped out the car to run up the beach, I could see it was rather small. The size did nothing to hide the perfect shape of the sand bar which it was breaking down. Stretching from the tip of the point, the sand had built up out side the bay, making a lagoon of sorts. The waves were rifling from the tip all the way across to the opposite side of the bay. Hard to imagine how this works I know, but you have to remember that the coastline bends so far that this bay is pretty much facing south to south east, so the wrapping, west/northwest swells break as if the point was just of the normal west facing type.
There were one or to plywood shelters on the beach, and a panga, but there was no one here. In fact I hadn't seen a soul since leaving Rosalita, 70 miles to the south. It gave me a queer feeling, similar to how I had felt when I came upon the abandoned village in San Antonio Del Mar. I’m not sure what it was, I have always been fine with solitude. I knew I would be spending a lot of time alone this trip. But maybe not this alone. Maybe I was still tense from the nerve wracking drive here, but I’m not sure. I think the knowledge of where I was, In the middle of this dry, barren, harsh land, near 100 miles from help, 200 from the nearest fuel station and god knows how far from the nearest hospital. It may have just hit how utterly alone I was, no phone signal meant if something went wrong I couldn’t even call for help and from the look of the pangas and shelters, this place seldom got visitors. Even the dirt road out to the surf look like it hadn't been used this winter!
Home sickness may have had something to do with it. It isn't really something I have ever experienced. Sure, I have missed home when I have been away, but I’m always so busy I never have time to think about it. But the few days alone in San Quintin and the long drive here certainly found me thinking of the life I had left behind to live this one. This was to be a short life however, so I pushed my feelings aside to make the most of the time I had. I was still having a great time and the sight of the prefect point was enough to put most of my unrest at ease.
I knew there should be a swell in the next few days, but by the looks of how much the swell had to wrap to get in I knew it was unlikely to ever get very big. That was fine, I had had more than my share of waves, and was content to relax in this paradise for a few days, fishing and clamming and reading.
I spent the last few hours of light exploring, looking around the area, finding a good place to make my camp. It was getting dark, so I jumped Inside my truck to get ready for the next day.
The next few days were much the same as each other. The waves never really got over knee high, but for about 1 hour today where 2 or 3 waist high sets came through. That doesn't mean I didn't have a great time however! After that first night I felt better again, so was much more relaxed after that. I just chilled on the beach reading, went fishing (I didn't catch anything the whole time!), dug for clams. Clams were pretty much my staple while I was there. If I got hungry, I’d just walk up and down the beach with my spade and within an hour I’d have enough for a meal! I pretty much had a fire going constantly (there was no shortage of wood), so I always had a clam or 2 on the go by the fire.
I’d just find them lying on the beach as well! I ran out to the point and back a few times every morning and I’d often come back with a hand full. I kept exercising, paddling my 8’0 out to the point and catching little knee high peelers. On one day It was lining up perfectly. I had 1 wave which was over 2 minutes long, and half a dozen over a minute! I know that as I have them on the go pro. 2 minutes! Thats how long I was on the same wave for! Lets assume a wave travels at about 20kmph (not sure about this however), that comes out at a ride around 700 meters long! which is a bloody long wave! I could probably work it out if I went on google maps, as I know where I took off and I know which bit of the beach I stepped of on to. unfortunately, due to the beach then curving north, the walk back out is over 1000m. But the fact that you can walk straight to the take off without having to do any paddling is nice.
Today started out like the rest; got up, had some tea, re-lit the fire, made some porridge, eat and read in the morning sun, all the norm. Then, as the tide began to turn, I saw a lovely set come in of the point. At that same moment, for some reason I got an image in my head of Dave Rastovich doing a lay back on an alia, and so decided to grab my short board and try get a few finless! I grabbed my stuff, hoping that that swell may have finally arrived, 3 days late by my count, or maybe 2, I’m not all that sure…
Any way! I got out there, it was about knee high, well shaped and a lot of fun. I couldn’t get any of the long rides like I had on the 8’0, but I did get a few 360s’ in, and pretty much pulled off a Rasta style layback… pretty much… All of a sudden, a waist high set came through! I managed to grab the first one, but I couldn't handle the speed of it with no fins. I surfed it all the way in on my belly to the beach. If there was one set there would be another, and that last one way surf-able!
After hurriedly putting my fins in, I sprinted out to the point again and waited. For the next hour or so, I got a hand full of those bigger ones. Super fun, long fast perfect little waves with no one out. They were not breaking all the way in, but I still had a few super long ones. I could just imagine it on a thumping north swell, would probably be a draining barrel off the peak. But it was not big enough for that. After that hour the waves stopped and It went back to being ankle to knee high again. I was well satisfied by then, so went in to grab some clams for lunch.
While the clams were cooking, I realised that If that was the swell, there wouldn't be another for at least 3 days, If not longer. I had no idea when the next swell would come, and seeing as it was coming to the end of the season, one may never come! With that in mind, I resolved to head back to civilisation to find out what is going on. The only sign of human life I had seen was one plane the whole time I had been out there. No one, no cars or boats, nothing! So I thought It would be nice to check no one had started a nuclear war or something…
After I had eaten, I got my stuff together and headed out. I had been bumping and crawling over the hills for 10 or 20 minutes or so before I came to the dead end. Bugger. How the hell did that happen! I was sure I was going the right way! was I? One dirt track looks much like another it has to be said. The only thing I could do was turn around and start again. I got back to a point which I knew to be right, and moved on. I came to a junction and took a different route. Within 5 minutes I knew I was wrong. Fuck. I was starting to get very nervous by now, I knew Id find it, but there was that voice in my head, playing with me, letting me know what would happen if I ran out of fuel. turn round, back to the junction. keep going, this one? No cant be. This one? No cant be. This one? maybe!
turn round, keep going. Lets try this one.
deep breath. Keep going.
Again I got to the dead end.
shit. fuck. shit
Ok deep breaths Tasman, stay calm, there is no point freaking out here, just a minor problem which can be easily resolved. I pulled over, got out and took some long, deep breaths so I could think properly. The first this that became clear to me was that I couldn't waste any more fuel, not in this part of the world. OK, I would find the track on foot. I had missed something. I headed for higher ground to look back at the way I had come. Nothing. All the paths looped back around to head in the other direction, still taking deep breaths I scanned the hills ahead for any sign of a track but couldn't pick anything out. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to see anything from this distance but still, the panic started to creep back again. I looked back at the truck and saw it. Are. You. Kidding. Not a dead end. All of that. Such a joke.
Where I was parked, the track did a loop back on its self like a noose, but what I couldn't see at ground level was a path veered off and around the base of a small rise ahead. I hadn't seen it as It went of down a small rock slope, so there were no obvious tire tracks. What an idiot. A soon as I had seen the path doubling back I had immediately assumed I had been going the wrong way, If I had only stopped to look around I would have saved my self a whole load of bother. But there we are. Drama over. It seems I was not destined to die in the deserts of Baja, not yet anyhow.
And so I found myself on the ‘road’ again, climbing my way over hills and through dry river beds. I had almost forgotten how long that bloody dirt track was. By the time I made it back to Punta Rosalita it was getting dark. I found a nice place to park up for the night, as the sun was setting and made camp for the night. For some reason I feel a whole lot better, like I have been carrying a weight on my shoulders these last few days. I think I hadn't been fully able relax out there, knowing how far I was from help. I have also only just shaken the tension from almost getting lost however, so it may just be that.