Day 1, May 31st (La Paz)
We arrived in La Paz and checked in to Pension Baja Paradise, a small and simple pension house. Everyone was very excited.
We had a meeting on the rules and regulations for the trip, plus a safety briefing. People didn’t ask too many questions yet as they were still shy.
We went to the marina to check out everything, prepare our luggage, and make sure that we had all the supplies that we needed.
Day 2, June 1st (Espiritu Santo Island)
We set off in the Expedition VII and Expedition VIII, with guests in one boat and most of the crew following in the other.
The first thing you notice out on the Sea is something you hear, or don’t hear. It’s a sound that can’t be recorded, bottled or sold. Silence. Quiet. Peace.
Maybe that’s where the name La Paz came from. The quiet is as close and immense a presence as the sky and the water. You can’t see it in a photo.
When we grew close to the long, rugged island of Espiritu Santo, we couldn’t stop remarking on the sugar-white sand and utterly clear turquoise water. It was the first time for everyone who was not part of the crew and their first impression was “WOW!” It was great to see the reaction of guests and how the team conducted themselves during the trip.
We pulled up on the sand, formed a human chain, and unloaded the equipment. The first order of business is always shade and water. I reiterated to the group how important under the sun it is to conserve our energy and keep ourselves hydrated throughout the trip. We set up the tents. Anchoring the Zodiacs out from shore, we used the kayaks to go back.
When it was time to go in the water, we supplied each one with his or her own gear. “You’re each responsible for your own equipment.”
We gazed in wonder at the fish, corals and scenery for hours. When we came out of the water, we listened to the sounds of nature. When you don’t have too much noise in your head you can turn around and find the source of the sound.
We realized an important thing: going to the bathroom is an intimate ritual; when you don’t have those comforts, it’s hard to concentrate. We set up a portable bathroom with shade and made sure that it was always clean for the next user.
We did a little bit of kayaking. Some people were shy at first, but as they saw others doing it, they joined in. People just needed a little push.
Sunset… It’s amazing how we’re used to checking the time every so often and keeping a running commentary of events. People would say, “Wow, it’s still early, but we already did a lot of things!” This trip was the time to put away our watches. We were not going anywhere.
Each sunset is different. There is a short window during the day when it’s not daytime, nor is it nighttime.
Fifteen minutes before and after the sunset is when the colors are the most beautiful – the colors of the rocks change and the water takes on a fiery glow.
At dinner we provided lamps for everyone. All of a sudden we could see how many stars there are. It’s so nice to watch the stars without the bright lights of the city; you could actually see shooting stars (and satellites?) pass by. The stars seem big and soft and almost within reach out here.
It was difficult for some people to sleep on the first night even though they were tired, because they were still excited.
We had to learn that it’s a time to let go, knowing that the next day is going to be different. We reminded ourselves not to think about things that are going to happen when we come back.
The next day would be a revelation for us all. On the faraway island of El Pardito in the Sea of Cortez, we found ourselves asking “how can people live with so little and be so happy?”
To be continued…