The unexpected van life family

Waking up to the gentle crashing of waves, it was easy to forget that there was a time when this was all just a dream. Something to pass the time on long drives, or late night’s preparing lessons for the next day. One of the wonders of Baja, is it’s sheer volume of beautiful public beaches that you can roll up and camp on. We had been spoilt by a plethora of serene seaside spots since arriving at the start of February, and it was probably one of the factors for staying beyond our original four week deadline. Well, the cheap fish tacos helped a lot as well!

After ‘Sandgate’ the night before, we were all happy to take some time to relax, so that morning I enjoyed my morning brew, whilst gazing out into the ocean, watching whales pop their heads out of the water in the distance.

John’s strange snacking habits

Sadly, the sickly pelican didn’t survive the night, and it’s body lay down the beach, the local dogs still barking at it, most likely still waiting for a reaction.

We were joined that morning by Rachel and Ola, who had managed to record some amazing footage from the Lunar gathering for their vanlife documentary. We were now just missing Danny and Bodhi, who were still enjoying themselves in Cabo.

The gangs almost back together

With the tide in, some of the group took their boards out to catch some waves. Unlike the beginners beach at Cerritos, this coast had lots of rocks hiding beneath the water and neither of us felt confident in avoiding a certain injury if we took our board out.

With surfing out of the question, we went for a leisurely stroll down the beach, spying a T25 VW hidden further down the shore. Back at the camp, I decided to search for some fire wood, so we could sit as a group around a fire underneath a star soaked sky. It didn’t take me long to pillage a near by bush!

Don’t worry guys… I’ve got this!

Some of the girls in the group felt inspired to share vegan recipes and baked some delicious brownies for us to share. Sat enjoying the rich sweetness of the brownies, the local pig family ventured past, checking to make sure we were behaving ourselves.

Oink oink

We had read online about a nearby hotel and as we didn’t have signal, we decided to take Aimee for a walk on her harness, much to her displeasure. She had recently been spoilt with the luxury of wandering freely, which is why we thought it’d be best to keep her in the routine of walking on a leash. Needless to say, she make things easy for us, sulking behind us, crazing the freedom to explore bushes as we passed.

Aimee wasn’t happy

We followed the main road past the crater left by the Seaward Shuttle excavation the previous evening, and followed it as it bent around the coast. With no sign of any hotel, Willow checked on iOverlander and found the ‘nearby’ hotel, which was at least thirty minutes down the road in the other direction. Not quite that desperate for service, we returned back to Ruby, this time Aimee practically dragging us back, sensing her impending freedom.

She just wants to run free

Back at the beach, we observed some whales splash not far from shore. It looked like a mother teaching her baby, so I sent Steve over for a closer inspection. What we originally assumed to be grey whales, in fact turned out to be humpback whales. Bringing Steve down for a closer look, the mother raised her fin high, narrowly missing Steve in the process. None of us could believe what we were seeing, it was as if we were documenting our own Version of Planet Earth. I would just need to work on my Attenborough accent!

Such an amazing sight

After eating, we all gathered outside around a fire, basking in the warmth which banished the chill of the night’s cool air. Strangers only a few days ago, these people had quickly become family, United by our passion for adventure.

In the morning, Willow helped Luke try and figure out why his reverse light wasn’t working, John had also noticed that they were missing an air intake duct for their engine, so we tried to find a wacky solution using some unneeded hose pipe. When we were finished, Willow and I decided to pack up and start making our way further around the coast. We were desperate to get to some coastal hot springs on the south east side of the peninsula. Everyone else seemed fairly happy with the idea of moving, and so we set off once again in our convoy. Minus Rachel and Ola, who decided to stay behind and would catch up with us at a later point.

If you were wondering whether the roads improved from Nine Palms… they really didn’t. we once again had to suffer the unbearable washboard, navigating sections which had been washed away in distant flooding. Fortunately, the washboards were all we had to suffer. John and Ina however, were not as lucky. After passing one particular perilous section of road, we noticed that the Seaward Shuttle was finding a lot trickier due to their rather large size. Waiting to see how they got on, we contemplated turning around, when they started moving past the obstacle.

As we approached the town of Cabo Pulmo, we just had to negotiate a small flooded section, which was a few minutes from town. We found out that John and Ina had scrapped it exhaust on the drive, causing it to break. They didn’t seem to be having much luck recently! At least Jerome and Meli were behind them, and they stopped to pick it up. Weall needed a few supplies, but there didn’t appear to be many options for supplies. It was more like a village, popular for snorkelling in the nearby coral reefs. With a few basics bought, we parked up in an old RV park on a pebbled beach.

Cabo Pulmo beach

Fancying something to eat, we walked down the beach to a small taco and beer stand. We ordered two beers and then had a look at the menu. It was clearly a tourist destination, as the prices were far more inflated than anything we had paid up until that point. Not wanting a wasted journey, we ordered some fish tacos anyway, which arrived not long after. As we asked for the bill, I noticed that they hadn’t charged us for the drinks. Trying desperately to explain in broken Spanish, the guy didn’t understand and so after the third time of trying, we left. The price we paid was probably closer to what we normally paid anyway.

As it started to get late, a pick truck pulled up on the beach and two Mexican guys started to enjoy some beers whilst blasting out some very bassy mariachi music. After enduring as much as we could, Willow and I walked down to the nearest bar, joined by John and Ina. They were having a karaoke night, which consisted of locals singing songs they had selected on YouTube.


Feeling confident (cocky) after my butchering of Frank Turner, I suggested to John that we should perform a duet for the locals. What followed was a long discussion of song choices, we were overwhelmed by all of the possible choices, settling on a rendition of the Flight of The Concords ‘If that’s what you’re into’. As you can imagine, fouled by beer, we delivered a stand up performance, nailing the song perfectly! After a standing ovation, Willow wiped a tear from her eye and told us that was the greatest performance she had ever witnessed!

When did that become unbelievable? I maybe should have exaggerated our performance only slightly and said it was tolerable, then maybe you would have believed it. What we lacked in natural talent, we at least compensated with enthusiasm. I’m not sure the locals were, or ever will be ready for Flight of the Concords and I’m not expecting an invitation back anytime soon.

Luckily for everyone, the bar ran out of beer and so there was no further opportunities to torture the locals. We headed back to Ruby and was pleased to find that the locals in the pickup had taken their party elsewhere. So we could go to bed, with only the sounds of the oceans to listen to as we drifted off to sleep.

As the weather had picked up the next day, a few of us went on a short hike up a nearby hill. We had spent too long relaxing and needed to stretch our legs. The view from the top offered us lovely panoramic views of the bay and the surrounding areas.

Nice to stretch the legs
Good views
Proof we can still do nice pictures

Once back, we packed up and hit the road once more. Thankfully, the road was no where near as bad as the previous ones and we arrived at Los Barilles in the late afternoon. Parking up on a small beach next to a local couple enjoying a romantic drink on the beach. Obviously, a load of campers turning up isn’t the most romantic surrounding, so they quickly left.

Getting closer to the hot springs

In the morning, we would set off to La Ventana, the coastal hot springs we had been so eager to get to since learning of their existence. We just hoped that we were done with the washboard roads. Seeing as we were in Mexico, we both very much doubted that!

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