It had been almost six months since the last Baja adventure, so with the new arrival of the Spring/Summer collection and a willing group of friends we headed south for a few days to shoot the new line and have some fun. The initial plan was that there would be around twenty of us, or more; a mix of surfers, rock climbers and photographers. We would also be trekking about four hours past the border - this wasn’t going to be a little trip down to La Fonda. The main issue with a huge crew like that is the amount of vehicles you need to take. It’s easy to get lost down there and you can't rely on your GPS to get you around. You need a traditional paper map of Baja or the know-how to get down to these places.
We packed up the vans and trucks and headed to the local grocery store for the essentials. Once we packed the rigs with food, water, wood, and beer we left the parking lot with a convoy of four vehicles and nine people. The rest would be meeting us there later that evening. Nearing the border, we tried to keep the group together as we approached the border crossing. Every vehicle ( three vans and one truck ) was pulled into secondary inspection with the signaled wave of a border patrol officer - something we have become oddly used to. Steve’s black truck was briefly looked over and cleared and then our van was cleared to go shortly after. Steve quickly drove off and got away from the border crossing as fast as he could while we waited for our friends. While waiting, another guard came by and gestured for us to go into another inspection where they drive your van up onto a huge scanning machine. “Señor we have already been cleared, we are just waiting on our amigos.” He didn’t care and slapped a piece of paper onto our windshield. Our friends we were waiting for had just been cleared to go but because they had no idea where they were going they just followed us onto the line for the scanner. It ended up being that we were given the green light to go but because we waited around for the others, 3 out of the 4 vehicles in the convoy went through this large machine for no reason. This will be the last time we wait for a vehicle while already being cleared to go. Half an hour later we all made it through and found Steve and his girlfriend Maria waiting patiently for us just outside the border on the Mexico side. This is something we wished we had also done but hey, you live and you learn especially in Mexico.
The first stop would obviously be for tacos and beer, something that stays pretty constant while we’re down there. We all made it to La Fonda and quickly cracked a few cold ones while walking over to the two taco stands. I snapped a few shots on my digital and film camera while we were hanging out and eating however the lighting sucked, so my attention quickly turned back to more tacos and another beer. After the grub-down and much needed stop we made the long trek to our coastal destination about three hours further down highway. We passed through the bustling towns, through the mountains and green wine country of Baja California and then slowly back towards the coast. Finally, we made the right turn down the bumpy dirt road we knew would deliver us to our camp. Ben, who was driving his van and letting me ride along as co-pilot, asked me to take the wheel while he put his new drone up in the air for some footage. “Stop, stop, stop, I lost it. You have to reverse.” I heard this three or four times while making our way down the dusty road. Every time I would start backing up slowly until the drone finally found connection to the control, a really funny thing to watch as my good friend kept loosing and then finding his new toy.
An hour later we saw the blue hues of the ocean and knew we were getting close to our desolate desintation. We arrived at our usual spot shortly after, but then quickly decided to relocate further up the hill because of the high winds. We passed through the small fishing village that is an occasional seasonal home to a few families, passed the lighthouse and then made our way to a clearing near the edge of the cliffside. There is nothing out there except for the small fishing village and a very odd cult like “layer” that looks more like a theme park owned by TVIND further south in the distance. We pointed our binoculars that direction a few times to get a closer look at the weirdness but couldn’t see much except the colorful rooftops.
Once our camp was set up, ( a mixture of tents and camper vans ) I began to work on the fire as the evening was nearing an end. We took to the Tecate’s and things got weird pretty quickly. After an amazing meal of stew, potatoes and chicken cooked over the open fire, we all began making our way to our temporary sleeping quarters and hit the hay after a long day of travel.
I woke up early the next morning to the light as it began peeking over the hill. Everyone else was still sleeping so I used the time to walk around and snap a few photos as the day was beginning to start. I ended up going back to sleep after a while and waking up once I heard the others start to rise.
After a healthy breakfast of Tecate’s and fruit, we looked at the surf and decided to head out even though the conditions were meager. We realized the other group of friends who were supposed to be meeting us hadn’t arrived yet and so we assumed they were most likely not showing up. The three surfers out of the group ( Ben, Steve, and myself ) suited up and walked through the fishing village and down to the boat launch where it was easier to get around the rocks and into the break. Although offshore, the winds were high and waves tiny. Every wave I tried to take off on I would just get slapped in the face with cold water as the winds forced spray over the tops of the waves. It was frustrating. Steve and I decided to paddle all the way around the point to another point further north but had no luck there either. Eventually we made our way back a bit defeated but still stoked. The surf sucked but we were still having an epic time in a gorgeous and desolate place with some of our best friends. Nothing could take that away from us.
That evening while getting lifestyle shots for the new line we made friends with some of the young kids that were in the village. They were stoked to see us out there , camping, surfing and flying a drone around which I am sure was a first for them. We ended up giving them all sunglasses that day, a sure way to make friends for life in Mexico.
After a dinner consisting of tacos filled with whatever leftovers we had, we began lighting dead cactus trees on fire and whirling them around and then finally off the cliffside into the ocean. I am still not sure what they are, resembling a Joshua Tree like and stubby palm tree, but they catch a blaze very easily once dead and are very fun to hurl around in the night sky. Just don’t try this in the United States.
We woke early that next day and began packing up our camp, there was nothing good as far as the surf was concerned so we decided to slowly make our way back up north while eating a few roadside snacks along the way. When the surf sucks in Mexico you can always bank on finding food that doesn’t. After filling up on tacos and tamales, we got ready for the trek back to the border. We decided to avoid the border crossing we came in on and go through another route; a wise move on our part which saved us a good hour or two. All four vehicles made it back with zero issues, it seems it’s easier to get back into the States than to get into Mexico, at least for us American’s. Our bellies were full, eyes heavy, and bodies drained of energy from the past few days, feelings that are only cured by long naps, lot’s of water and healthy food.
Mexico seems to always take so much out of us, but after a few day’s back we all quickly realize how much joy and experience we get out of each and every trip. All different, all exciting, all scary at times and all filled with zero regret.
Words and uncredited images by Dylan Bellingan.