Back in Todos Santos

Now in Todos Santos, we met up with everyone at ‘Bahia’ for some fish tacos. This place had been closed the last time we went, and apparently this was much better than where we had ended up last time and waited for ages. We ordered a couple of fish tacos, while Ina was brave and went for a shrimp ceviche. Our food arrived quickly, and I was pretty happy to see that they had given us double tacos. This means you basically get 4 tacos while paying for two, as there is no way all the fillings they give you will fit in one taco anyway. This made us two very happy campers, with the only logical way to finish the afternoon being to head to the brewery.

We headed en-masse to the Todos Santos Brewing Company, again. We were sat enjoying our drinks, the place only having a few other people in it. We were quite a large group, and Rachel and Ola on the other end of the table had struck up a conversation with another couple. Talk naturally turns to the current pandemic, these to Americans are renting a property down here and planning to weather the storm in Baja too. A few drinks later, they invite us around to use their pool and have a shower if we want too. They head off a bit before us, after showing us where to park. We finish off our drinks and then drive around the corner to where their house is.

The house they rent is in a large fenced off garden, next to what I assume is the landlords house. We are greeted with friendly smiles, and hand sanitiser. A condition of being allowed inside. They let us all pile into a modest single storey villa, and we are also introduced their son, Bodhi. This is kind of amusing as this is Danny’s dog, Bodhi, not the most common of names. Personally, this is really the first time we have actually spoken to Shaye or her husband, nicknamed Butter. It turns out she had already clocked us as VW owners, which she is a definite fan, and previous owner of. I have made the new social faux pas of going to shake someone’s hand. Not in these virus infected times, this was when I got introduced to the new ‘foot shake’ which is apparently acceptable, if incredibly awkward.

I do admire them, allowing a large bunch of strangers to suddenly descend on her house. As much as I would like to think I would welcome fellow travellers into my home, I’m not sure I would, especially not 7 of them.

She shows us outside to the pool, where Lee and some of the others have a bit of a swim. The sun’s already gone in and that means it’s a bit cold for me in an unheated pool. Rachel, Ola and Shaye discuss the particulars of various drugs and ‘micro dosing’ which is all a bit new to me.

The afternoon is definitely at an end, an at this point Shaye says she has a load of local shrimp and invites us all to stay for dinner, if we want. Well, whoever said no to a free dinner. As probably the one fussy eater who doesn’t eat shrimp, I do mention when asked that I’m vegetarian. This is a lot easier than explaining my picky seafood preferences. She doesn’t look impressed.

Our gang help out a bit with meal preparation, but mainly focus on drinking the contents of Danny’s growler, smoking his weed. Shaye tells us some of the stories from the day she owned a VW camper, and we have a good chat with Butter too. Me and Ina play go fish with Bodhi, while the meal finishes cooking. I offer to help do something, but when Shaye suggests I help prep the shrimp and that as a long standing vegetarian I might “get some enjoyment” from ripping their insides out, I run away to the garden.

Soon enough, we’re ready to eat. Big pots of beans, rice, veg and shrimp sit on the worktop on a ‘get stuck in’ kind of system. There’s a lot of food, and the while I don’t go for the shrimp the rest is really nice.

Before too long it’s getting late, and not wanting to intrude too late into the night we say our goodbyes. John has long gone back to his camper, while the rest of us say goodbye and leave Ola and Rachel still chatting away. I’m not entirely sure where the decision came from (Shaye I think), but we knew we heading a short distance away to the beach of Punta Lobos. Here you can buy fresh fish directly from the fisherman, so we have been told.

The drive is straightforward enough, until the final hill that enters into a dirt parking lot behind the hotel, our final destination. We brave the almost step like ascent into the car park with the help of Danny’s recovery boards to bridge the worst of the gap. Ina refuses to attempt it in her bus, and John has no say on the matter being asleep in the back, so she turns around to go and find the other road in that Ola and Rachel have just arrived on. Danny looks a little indecisive, heading back to his van. Maybe he’ll take the safer route. Next thing I know the engine roars and he attacks it, full speed ahead. Making it to the top without losing chunks of his exhaust, result. We have some debate over where to park without obstructing the fishermen that we know will be arriving early the next morning. We initially park it next to a concrete wall, but after seeing all of the cockroaches that live in this particular part of the wall, we move to a different spot. Danny lends us his boards again to level our van up, and then we say goodnight before heading to our respective ends of the car park.

It was no surprise when the fleet of battered fishermen’s truck arrived at around 6am the following morning.

We lay there and tried to pretend it wasn’t happening, having had not the earliest of nights. John however, was up and about after his early night and able to fully explain to us how they had set about launching their boats into the sea with some kind of Frankenstein-esque truck creation. By the time we were around, the boats were long gone and the moment of truth had arrived. Having spent some time trying to bring our batteries back from the dead the other day, we had yet to really test whether we had achieved anything. A good test of this is, will the Wallas start in the morning? We had gone to bed on a voltage reading of about 12.6v, and woke in the morning to it reading 12.5v. This was pleasantly surprising, and brought with it a cautious optimism that we have actually fixed something. Sure enough, the Wallas turned on and we were away, our batteries were definitely in better nick. Only time would tell how long it would last for. I had also had a reply from the support department at NOCO who explain that the process the charger was going through indicated that it was trying to repair a faulty battery and the charger itself was fine. I sent her another email asking a few more questions, and I have to say that she was incredibly helpful and also very quick to get back to me. Well done those guys.

With this positive start to the morning, we decided we would go on small hike. Alltrails listed a walk that climbed up over the hill to the side of us and to a small bay where you could see some sea lions. We filled the others in on our plans, and soon enough we set off, minus Rachel and Ola who had to take a pre-arranged phone call. It was a hot day, and I was glad of a nice cooling sea breeze as we left our campsite. Only a short way down the road, we came across this partially finished building, where some nice cyclists stopped and offered to take our photo.

Heading onwards and upwards, the path steadily climbs the hillside and passes an incongruous looking signpost to the ‘yoga platform’. Indeed, shortly up the hill is aforementioned yoga platform and if we had planned on staying another day I could definitely see the appeal of going up there to do some Pilates. We continued onwards, with some nice views of the beautiful beaches that line this coast, alongside the swanky 5 star hotel which we were parked up behind.

In around half an hour or so we rounded the headland and got our first view of the little bay we were heading for.

John and Ina decided to turn around at this point, but Lee, Danny and I kept walking down to the bay. It wasn’t too much further to go, and it was clear no one had walked this route recently as there were several spiders webs strung right across the path. These had the unpleasant effect of landing the larger-than-I-would-like spider on you if you walked into them.

We arrived down at the back of the bay, deciding we didn’t really fancy the steep rocky scramble down to the seashore itself. Probably only worth it if you actually wanted to swim, we decided. And as we all unanimously agreed, having come unprepared for swimming, the chub rub on the walk back home just wouldn’t be worth it.

I walk around the side of the bay, out to where some kind of jetty had been built. I’m not sure what boats would have wanted to land here, but there were signs left of the hooks and posts that previous boats would have been moored too.

There was also plenty of bright, rainbow coloured crabs. After sitting for a little while, we retraced our steps back up the hill. It was coming up to 2pm, and soon the fishermen would be returning with their fish ready to sell.

When we arrived back at the campsite, Rachel and Ola confirmed that someone had already offered them some fish. We hung around for a bit, not sure of how these things normally went. Did the fishermen sell straight out the boats, or was it brought up to the shore where some other guys were waiting? Deciding we weren’t really getting anywhere standing here, Rachel took the lead and asked one of the nearest people if he had any fish to sell. It seems that most of this fish is taken to various shops and markets locally, and therefore not sold straight off the beach. While this was for the majority, there was a couple of people willing to sell, and someone led us across the beach to one particular boat.

The beach was very busy. There were fishermen, boats and nets everywhere, as all along the beach the fishermen prepared their fish. Seagulls who obviously knew the right time to be here squabbled among the guts and heads. We wandered among them, looking out of place.

Arriving at the boat we had been directed to, the fisherman here whipped out a Red Snapper about two-foot long. It’s probably one of the largest fish I’ve ever seen. He wanted 720mxp for it, that’s £24 and once we had agreed he filleted it right in front of us, asking if we wanted to keep the head too. We were then handed a rather heavy and bloody bag full of fish, which we traipsed back to our campers with.

We knew we didn’t want to stay here another night, it wasn’t the best spot for camping, so we decided to head back to La Pastora. John drew the short straw by having the biggest fridge as the rest of us couldn’t physically fit that amount of fish in. Having double bagged it, they hastily set off for the beach, Rachel and Ola followed.

Danny decided to follow us to the brewery so that we could refill our growlers, I also wanted to buy ours a koozie… just because. So we would be arriving to the fish party slightly later. After what turned into several beers, we finally left the brewery. We had also got to meet the Aussie owners, who were really nice and friendly too, making it even easier to stay for ‘just one more’. Aware though, that everyone was waiting for us back at camp, we headed out.

Arriving at La Pastora was an odd feeling, as this was the place we had all met last time and they had been a lot more campers here too. Now much quieter, there was only a few people, including the guy who had saved our chair from the bees previously. It was time to get dinner sorted.

Danny had a small grill that he filled full of charcoal to cook our fish. I made some salad and guacamole to go with everything. John and Lee wrestled with trying to set the projector screen up again and Ola and Rachel started prepping the fish to be cooked.

It took a while for everything to be set up, and it was getting a bit late before the food was ready. Again, they were fish tacos worth waiting for and we had decided to watch Snatch as our film choice for tonight. Rachel and Ola had announced that they were planning on driving back to the States after all, and would be heading off in the morning. They felt like it would be a wasted opportunity to not record what was happening at the moment for their documentary, which makes sense. So it would definitely be a time for goodbyes tomorrow, that made it even better than we could have an awesome night to finish it off. It was three weeks to the day that we had all met on this beach, in this very spot and there was something nearly poetic in how that had turned out.

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