Baja: Lots of Wind and Margs, but no Funny Stuff

So for years now we’ve found ourselves driving/flying across the country in search of some two simple things: wind and water. But 3/4 of the time we get skunked. Like inexplicably, unbelievably, against-all-forcasts-ly skunked. But we figured as new college grads with shiny new Masters degrees in Aerospace engineering, maybe our luck would change in Mexico.

And it did! 2 weeks after the caps flew, and less than 24 hours after the Alpine Hut Trip Adventure, we got on a plane for a jaunt south of the border to the Vela windsurfing/kiteboarding resort on the lower tip of the Baja Peninsula in Los Barriles. We hoped for at least 7 of the 13 days there to be windy. That would be okay. But we ended up with 12 days straight of wind! Light days had Zach on a big 14 meter kite, but we still got out kiting! Better yet were the shrimp tacos fresh of the grill, copious games of baja croquet, and plenty of Big Lebowski references to keep things lively (Thanks Jerry and Janice!).

Best though, the “Baja Margaritas” turned out to be tastier than any we’ve had north of the border (and Zach is a connoisseur) and more potent than a Beiber Fever outbreak amongst tweenage girls. Seriously though, it takes an act of god to get Zach in bed before midnight. But we’re pretty sure it was the multiple margaritas that caused the “Baja Midnight” phenomenon (an affliction that everyone else at the resort that we talked to wondered at), which had the lights out as of 8:30PM almost every night. Just nuts.

Turns out the secret to the deadly margs was a herbal liquor (Damiana) that happened to give you dreams with a full on hallucination-grade intensity. Totally worth it. Waking hours were equally intense though. Vela keeps all the newest stuff stocked, rigged and ready to go (except for the kiters, who have to pump up their own kites). Pierce was especially stoked about having a couple dozen brand new boards of every shape size and disposition at his disposal. Every day we’d both go out and brave the ocean after enjoying a bike ride into town, a classic Mexican breakfast and some quality audiobook time on our beach facing balcony (quite bromantic, I’d say).

Now Zach is normally terrified to take a trip to the deep end of the pool, let alone the suddenly deep Sea of Cortez. What, with huge fish, sharks (Pierce saw a Hammerhead while about a half mile from shore), whales, and Manta rays flying madly out of the water like a school of demonic flapping pancakes, who can blame him? Well we both did it, every day, and it was freaking awesome. Lots of swell, lots of wind, and tons of open water. Both of us were working on our jumping skills: Zach tied to his kite, and Pierce strapped into his windsurfer.

One common trend though is that Zach’s faces while kiteboarding are always far from elegant, despite the trademark mustache! In fact, when he shaved partway through the trip, he almost got in trouble with the resort staff for walking out with their gear because they didn’t recognize him with the upper lip visible. Ha! Well stache or no, the faces didn’t improve unless he cheered and fist bumped. Which wasn’t too tough to get him to do. We think it might just be a kiteboarding thing though, cause Pierce’s faces sucked too.

Every morning, when the wind was down, we took the opportunity to go SUP, snorkle, or just hang out on the beach. Pretty stressful life eh?

More consistent than the wind though were the daily croquet games that happened conveniently next to the bar (easier to follow “Baja Rules” that way). By the end we were all calling it the “Vela Croquet Resort (and windsports sometimes)”. It was epic! My favorite was when I went to town on a huge coconut, then had the Martin (the bartender especiale) make a drink with the coconut water. Of course Neil, Quin, Auke and the rest of the staff were leagues ahead of Pierce and I. Even despite adding some extra rules for them, we were almost never in contention.

We also got to experience the awesome vela staff. They are all insanely skilled on the water, but are also great teachers! Thanks for all the tips guys! See them ripping it up below:

Zach’s big goal for the trip was to catch huge airs, learn a back roll, and get Pierce to try jumping while strapped to the kite. Success on all fronts! Most of the above involve tons of wipeouts, which is all the better since normally one of us has the camera in hand to capture all of the action.

We spent every day on the water, and every night with water’s more sophisticated yet fun-loving cousin, the margarita. Except for the night we attended the annual Big Labowski potluck and viewing party with everybody else at the resort, at which point we had to abandon the margs for a White Russian. Ended up being an awesome night. The next day everyone on the water was shouting the classic one liners back and forth.

Jerry speeding by on his windsurfer “Hey no funny business!”

Zach after a bewildered moment “Careful man there’s a beverage here!!”

The best part (or worst, depending on how you look at it) of “Baja Midnight” was that we both ended up wide awake at 1am, and slept fitfully for the rest of the night. What that meant was that for once, Zach was up on  his own accord in the wee hours of the morning and happened to poke his head out to look at the sun coming up. Good thing, since that morning and the following happened to have some of the most colorful and amazing sunrises we’d ever seen. Time for some nice tranquil sunrise shots!

The next morning, tired of just an amazingly gorgeous show of mother nature at her best, Zach had to resort to his usual awkward posing and ninja jumps, to try and spice things up. Worked out well I’d say!

All in all it was an amazing trip. Came back tanned, stoked, and bearing the secrets of the Baja Margarita (and with Zach’s surfboard totaled by the Air Tran baggage handling machines, at least it happened after the trip was done!). Can’t wait to go back!

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