Week Tres has played host to a variety of youthful and exciting activities that have well and truly got us back into the swing of adventuring, exploring, and being as knackered as a 12 year old me after a classic red bull fuelled all-nighter. I have to admit, my initial feelings towards the planned antics were rather sceptical, mainly due to the beautiful rut of relaxing we, and me especially, had been gloriously trapped in for the last couple of weeks, and if i’m really honest, my immediate post-adventure emotions slightly leant on the more negative side, but now the week has passed and I have had a chance to recharge the solar panels of my soul, I can truthfully state that it has been one hell of a week.
The first day was mostly spent prepping for our five day expedition to the East Cape and beyond, but after some morning of failed fishing and crab chasing, plus an afternoon of painful truck loading, we enjoyed a last chilled out evening on the beach with Santi and our good friend beers. The next morning eventually came around after a horric night on my behalf courtesy of some dodgy food and a lovely few minutes spent next to the toilet, and after finishing our truck loading and my bodily unloading, we set off in the Toyota truck, along with two kayaks, three surf boards, two coolers, snorkelling gear, firewood, and a fuck load of sun cream. Despite a momentary lapse of feeling slightly better, the journey was an extremely crap one for moi, but for the squad it went surprisingly well, with no major mishaps and a limited amount of getting lost, however, as a result of my desire to stay in the oven whilst the others did the shop, I not only turned into a sweaty mess that barely resembled a human being, but we ended up with a poor load of shopping full of healthy stuff and with an absence of meat and a respectable amount of beer. Nevertheless, we arrived near our destination by the evening, meaning all we had to do was decide on a campsite and set up camp for the night, both of which proved to be very problematic. At first we were unsure as to where we wanted to end up, but after covering the same section of road countless times we worked out the perfect home for Los Tres Amigos. Our spirits reached new heights, and I even managed to muster up a smile and utter some words as I dreamt of the haven that was at the end of this dusty and bumpy road of death. As you would expect, we didn’t need up camping there, as it was apparently full, so we drove back down the track and found the worlds windiest, busiest and loudest beach so we could struggle so desperately to put up the tent, and then struggle even more to cook some dinner. We battled on, and after braving the disgraceful portaloos, we were rewarded with the incredible sight of a bunch of stingrays breaching for our entertainment, providing us with a nice finish to what was a LONG day.
The third day of the week, and the second stage of our adventure, was largely spent eating up the miles of Baja California, but we did manage to a have a significantly more entertaining day than the previous one, and not just because I didn’t feel like death was an imminent certainty, despite my physical health actually getting rather worse as the day went by. The day started with some disgusting washing up and the usual morning toilet routines during which I discovered a highly inventive way of constructing an out door toilet that featured a hole and tyre, but sadly I didn’t get round to ever using it, as we quickly packed up the tent and headed out. The first stop of the day was a waterfall and laguna that Alec had suggested we should visit to cool off from the ‘mediocre’ levels of heat that had been cooking us English men all morning. Despite the obvious levels of tourism that we discovered upon arrival, we ate our left-over lunches with great enthusiasm that stemmed from our well known fondness for water and everything that it provides. The actual waterfall part of the attraction was pretty disappointing, compared to the huge beasts we have strayed upon in Chile, but the laguna underneath it had brilliant promise, as did the giant rock formations around it that created some perfect platforms for some bombs and bellyflops. We were even pleasantly surprised by the low numbers and low size of the Mexican tourists in the pool, and thanks to our foreign accents, we managed to secure a nice area of the pool with its very own diving board (rock). We chilled out for a while, but soon it was time to face the dreaded high board (cliff), so with Benj poised with El’s phone, we headed off on the nervous walk of death that was necessary to reach our fate. The warning signs began from the outset, when I managed to stub my middle toe, which subsequently ripped off half the nail and left a little trail of blood as we went. This helped to make the walk even worse, on top of the burning temperature of the path and the sharpness of the objects that were in the way of us and the gateway to hell. By the end, my toe was a lovely blend of red and black, but this actually helped the situation, as when we looked over the edge and saw the laguna sitting far too far down below us, this was still a more attractive route back down than the horrendous walk. El was first to jump with the crowds watching in eagerness, shouting ‘ahhhh’ as he went, and then despite the obvious pain he had suffered, I chucked myself off with my phone trying to record the drop, with a shout of ‘holy shit!!’ echoing around the area. It did indeed hurt a lot, but what felt like a minute long fall was well worth the discomfort, pain and messed up toe that it caused. We left shortly after this, once all of the Baja peninsula decided to turn up, and left with our heads held high knowing that we had provided several Mexicans with some cracking entertainment.
The next destination on our list of Alec approved spots was the clear blue waters Cabo Pulmo national park and its resident coral reef. We made it fairly easily, with the only traffic beings cows and dead donkeys, but the problems soon arrived once our convoy reached the beach, as despite being in the mighty Toyota, we found ourselves pretty stuck in the sand after only a few precious metres. However, this being Mexico, a big, and I mean big, Mexican quickly came to our rescue with a tyre pressure gage, a shovel, and some expert advice along the lines of ‘no fast’ and ‘slow, slow, slow’ that were carefully choreographed with some hand gestures. Benj soon got the message, and after a lot of edging forwards, and then going back, and then going forwards again, and then going back, we made it far enough down the beach to be away form the noisy nationals, and set up camp. There was little time to relax though, as the beautiful water that sat a few metres in front of us was inviting us in, so we grabbed the snorkelling gear out of the packed truck and waddled into the water. Unfortunately for me, my googles broke almost instantly, and despite my practical prowess, the mask remained unfixed, so I decided against wearing the flippers and breathing tube, and just held the goggles onto my face. Surpsingly, the salt water that easily reached my eyes was the least of my worries, as despite the coral and its amazing fish appearing to be very far away from me, it really wasn’t, and so the next ten minutes, for me anyway, was a period of yet more pain for my feet, some new damage to my knees, and a whole lot of damage to my unfit lungs. It was fun, so I got out.
I didn’t give up on the diving though, and soon I had new protype of googles to test, which were held onto my head very uncomfortably with a bungee chord, but they worked, and soon I was out in amongst the colourful fishies and lethal coral armed with my phone in its waterproof case. Sadly my camera work let me down slightly, but my goggles certainly didn’t, and together Los Tres Amigos saw some incredible sights courtesy up of Mother Nature, all of which sat no more than 30 metres away from our tent. We eventually got tired though, and we settled in for another evening of awful cooking and beer drinking.
Day four was arguably the best of the bunch, which has to be hugely credited to my incredible achievement in not picking up anymore injuries, but I guess the days top notch activities played a decent part as well. After waking up in the oven tent feeling like a sun dried tomatoe, and then rehydrating myself by napping by the water as the sun came up as well as officially becoming one of the most amazing places I’ve slept, we headed back into the water for some more snorkelling. This time around, my photography skills were on a new level (for me) and I so nearly managed to capture the long fish that I labelled as a snake during my mini heart attack, and I even got some blurry footage of a huge school of fish wandering past me. Sadly the octopus was just too much for my camera skills. We then spent the afternoon bobbing up and down in the kayaks in the latest instalment of our overwhelming failure to catch some fish, and that day was of course no different, however this trip was made a little more exciting by the sighting of a manta ray chasing El’s boat and breaching as it went off into the distance. It was quite the drama for about ten seconds, but our lives soon died down again, so we headed back to shore and began the tedious process of packing up the truck once again.
Apart from the tent nearly blowing away, the truck getting stuck again, me losing a flip flop when trying to push the Toyota out, and us losing a beer to the big Mexican dude that helped us once again, we made it back on to the road fairly easily, and after a quick beer stop and a bite of expensive lunch, we were motoring towards Nine Palms. The journey was slightly longer than anticapated due to the necessary act of blowing up the tyres BY OURSELVES, but after a few hours of the same CD repeating itself, we made it to our favourite surf spot, and set up camp for the last time, complete with a almost roaring fire and another incredible view to watch as we regrattbly consumed some more average pasta and sauce. It was perfect.
The next couple of days pretty much blurred into one, with most of the two days being spent trying to hide away from the feroscious heat that engulfed the beach of Nine Palms. However, upon arrival at the paradise, we soon discovered we had come highly unprepared for the scorching heat, with no functional method of giving us some precious shade to hide behind. This may sound like a serious and extremely painful problem, but what you clearly don’t know, if you were thinking that, is that me and Benj happened to be kean and eager den makers, so with El out trying to catch some waves amongst the hundreds of other surfers, we began constructing a shelter out of any decent sized materials we had and the numerous sticks we had packed into the back of the truck. After a long time of engineering, and then tweaking our project until it was perfect, we had the ultimate shady shelter made out of towels, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, chairs and bamboo. Unfortunately, the den we had created could only fit two people, so when El eventually returned, the area soon had to be completely reconstructed in order to accomadate him. The next days den reached new levels though, as after I had decided to go solo and make my own shelter that incorporated my chair and could shield me from the sun at all times of the day but also give a view of the water, Benj decided to attach himself to me which inadvertently made mine hit new heights, and so we enjoyed another day of doing abosuletly nothing in the safety of some high quality shade. We did try and pass the time with some games, but after only two rounds of my trusty game ‘cheat’, and a few throws of the old football (American), we gave up and decided we had to brave the waters in order to avoid going insane. I would love to be able to say the session was a whole lot less frightening, tiring and stressful than I was expecting, but I can’t, and although I would also love to lie about how frightening, tiring and stressful it was, I can’t bring myself to do that either, meaning, predictably, it was hell. Even if I had been in top top condition and not falling asleep on the board, I still would have had to avoid the majority of the huge (for me) and intimidating (for me and toddlers) waves that were piling in one after the other, and I still would have been absolutely destroyed by the wave that caught me off guard and took me almost back to shore, but as I was largely unconscious, the destroying felt that little bit worse. I did catch one nice wave though, and luckily that took me right back to the beach so I could acceptably return to camp and begin the evenings routine with a beer. This passed the time beautifully, and soon the sun was down on another day in paradise.h
The final day of the week was a good one, a long one, but a really entertaining one, courtesy of the highest quality of clothing one can buy in Mexico, and the pinnacle of food and drink in the Quevedo household. In other words, we started the day in La Comer (not literally) as I needed to buy yet another pair of flip flops, but in the end I decided to seize the day and go all out, which meant I left the shop with a bright orange Hawaiian shirt, which despite the constant criticism I have received from the boys ever since they caught a glimpse of the garment, and the obvious risk and embrassment that comes from buying clothes from a supermarket, I couldnt be more pleased with my purchase that has now completed by Mexican/tourist look. As for the food and drink, we had decided to host a counter attack BBQ with Aron and the others that had put on such an incredible showing of what one can do with some animals, a lot of chilli’s and of course a big bottle of tequila. This sounds, and was (initially), a stupid mistake, especially if you can comprehend quite how incomplete the three of us are capable of being. Luckily for our reputation though, our stupidity remained a hidden secret, courtesy of Alec’s incredible and very chilled out cooking skills, and of course my impeccable abilities as a bar man that mustered up some delicious margeritas to loosen up the judges and complete the package. In case you didn’t quite understand that last sentence, my abilities as a bar man are almost non existent, and my drinks were the complete opposite of delicious, even after i decided to cheat using Alec’s margarita mix. It was another brilliant night though with some brilliant people, made better by my super strength cocktails and the swimming pool, and as it turned out, we were crowned champions in the Baja BBQ Bananza 2k17. Let’s just hope for a rematch.
As usual, I could give the shoutout for the week to any number of people or places, as is expected after spending another seven glorious days in heaven, but I think you know who’s going to edge it this week. Yes, the big Mexican dude trumps the rest, but not for his generosity, unbeatable knowledge of the movement of wheels and sand, and not even for his class accent and english vocabulary. Instead, I want to award him this great honour for his tremendous tenacity and prowess during his admirable effort just to get himself some more beer. Fairplay to the bloke, he deserved that beverage, but I would bet one, or both, of my testicles that he had carried out that mission hundreds of times before, praying on us amateur tourists with a cooler full of alcohol. Respect to that man.