Yoga on the beach

11 Jan

 
A couple we’ve come to know well, here on Rattlesnake Beach, is Klaus and Parvin, who’ve been coming to Baja for more than 20 years. Parvin ran her own Yoga studio at one time and down here on the beach she has been persuaded to head a group for those of us who are interested. Both are in their late 60’s but you sure couldn’t tell by looking, as the two of them are more active than a great many 30 year olds we know. Not only do they do yoga 3 times a week, they also guide groups on the 3 nearby canyon hikes. We’re not talking flat, easy walks here either; all of them involve a great deal of clambering up and over gigantic boulders, crossing almost sheer rock faces and squirming up rabbit holes, taking on average of 6 hours to complete. They’ve been known to walk 20 year olds into the ground.

 

Our Rattlesnake Beach Yoga group, Parvin is on the far right.

 
They also kayak and are well known by all the professional kayak guides who  often see them in the coves and on the beaches of Islas Danzante and Carmen. They leave our beach in the early hours of morning so they can be on the eastern side of Danzante to watch the sun come up. These 2 were also the reason we ended up buying a double kayak, after some very convincing arguments as to why it would be a good idea.

 

The other day, Klaus asked us if we would be interested in going in a group with 3 other single kayakers to Isla Carman, where we would do our yoga on the white sandy beaches of Playa Blanca. The weather was supposed to be good, with little wind and since we hadn’t ventured that far on our own yet, this was a great opportunity to go with experienced paddlers. We of course said, “YES!”

 

Up before the sun!

 
We were supposed to be ready to go at 8:30 the next morning and so of course were up at 6 and standing around waiting for everyone at 8. Watching the sky brighten and looking towards the islands we noticed splashing headed our way from Punta Coyote just north of us. We at first thought we were looking at pelicans tearing into a school of fish, but as it got closer we realized we were looking at a pod of about 60 Common Dolphins. “Let’s go!” Richard yelled and we piled into the kayak and started stroking out from the beach. 50 feet was all we needed to be right in the middle of them as they raced by us, leaping and splashing as they pursued their breakfast. The old time sailors believed that seeing dolphins before a trip was good luck and we certainly felt that way.

 

A very good start to the day!

 

 

As we sat and watched the dolphins disappear, the other paddlers slowly made their way out to us and once we were all together, we set off for the north end of Danzante and the very tight pass between it and Still Point Island. Still Point isn’t really a separate island as it’s joined to Danzante by a finger of sand and rock, but at high tide there is a narrow pass only big enough for a kayak. Without Klaus leading the way, we never would have found it and would have had to paddle quite a bit further to go around the top end, but some years ago, Klaus and Parvin had dug out the small passage that exists. Lucky for all of us!

 

Is everybody here? Then let's go!

 
After making sure we had all managed to get through the opening, we aimed for Punta Arena on Carmen. There is a lighthouse on it and it’s easy to see from a distance so we paddled leisurely towards it, enjoying the water, and weather, yakking with one another as the boats jockeyed back and forth.
Stopping at Punta Arena, for a quick pee break, we noticed that the sand on the beach was totally covered in Hermit crab tracks, and one of the paddlers, Lance, said they had counted more than 60 of them in about 5 minutes when they had camped here a couple of years ago.

 

Tracks everywhere!

 
These islands are part of a huge Marine park and are protected, so everyone who visits them must have a Park pass and obey the rules, one of which states that nothing is allowed to be removed. Consequently, those who visit here have a tendency to create these treasure piles. Places where interesting and unusual things are left for those who will come after, to see and admire. The Trigger fish in the photo is the biggest one any of us had ever seen, and you’ll notice that it was rock hard. Things don’t rot here as it’s too dry. Dead things may be predated on by Turkey Vultures but anything they can’t or won’t eat, simply mummifies and Trigger fish skin is way too tough for them.

 

A common sight on the islands

 
Heading off again, we paddled only for a few minutes more and made it to this beautiful beach called Playa Blanca, or White Beach. It’s easy to see how it got it’s name. Here in the warm sun and sand we did our yoga, led of course by Parvin, with Klaus taking pictures. The Sun Salutation pose was of course the first one we did.

 

Yoga on the beach!

 

 

Afterwards, we pulled our lunches out of our dry sacks and settled down for a lovely picnic, enjoying the warmth, and beauty that surrounded us, not to mention the great conversation. At one point, we all stopped to watch this yacht go by and speculated on who was having the better time, us or them. We decided it must be us of course!

 

Who's the lucky ones?

 
Eventually, when everything had been eaten and drunk and all were becoming drowsy in the heat, it was decided we had better move on, or we wouldn’t be able to. Everything was picked up, stuffed back into the kayaks, and we hit the water to paddle a little further down to the very south end of Carmen. There are 2 palm trees here that have, against all odds, managed to grow and survive and this is one of Parvin’s favourite spots, so we had to at least see it before we headed for home.

 

How's that for a glimpse of paradise?

After a short stop to look around and talk with another kayaker we had met up with, a decision was made as to which direction we would take to go home and off we went. Like horses headed for the barn, we started moving faster, with the double kayaks leaping into the lead and pulling further away from the singles with each stroke.

 

 

Hey! That's us!

 
Half way across, Richard and I noticed whale blow in front of us, along the shore of Danzante, moving slowly north. It’s path and ours looked like they might intersect so we paddled a little harder hoping to see what it was. There had been few whale sightings this year, so we were excited to see one. Almost across, we lost sight of it.  We gave up looking and applied ourselves to paddling as the wind had come up and the waves were starting to reach 3 feet, with the occasional one breaking near us with a startling crash. Suddenly the crashing sound changed in pitch and there, close behind us was our whale. It was the blow that we were hearing, so that gives you some idea of how close it was. It turned out to be a she, a large Sei Whale and her calf. We sat with them for about 10 minutes as they surfaced and blew, ignoring us completely as they headed up into the northern reaches of the Sea of Cortez.

 

Momma Sei Whale.

The waves continued to rise, reaching 4 foot and becoming chaotic. It was a good experience as we realized that our kayak was built for this, so we stopped worrying and just paddled a little harder. As we all finally approached our beach, a tired goodbye was exchanged with all.
So ended another day spent with good friends and filled with the wonderful surprises that we’ve come to expect here on the Baja. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

 

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2 Responses to “Yoga on the beach”

  1. Anne LaRocque January 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    I thimk you have discovered a little bit of heaven, it sounds like a wonderful time. Your recipe sounds divine as well but a lot of work! Missing you both, take care.

  2. Monex January 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    …..Was it an omen when we discovered on the first night that wed forgotten to pack the coffee? Or maybe the prevailing omen was one of resourcefulness and kindness when David paddled the coffee out to us the next morning through the rare Sea of Cortez fog.I didnt think about it until almost the end of the trip but if plans hold their course this was my last Sea of Cortez Islands trip that I will lead for my employers of 8 years Sea Kayak Adventures.

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