The word ‘contrasts’ springs to mind. On Saturday, we cycled out of the hip kite surfing town of Los Barriles, with its high North American expat population and the incessant throb of quad bikes racing around town. Just forty miles along the coast of the East Cape, the last seven on a very rutted and sandy dirt road, we arrived at the tiny coastal village of Cabo Pulmo, which is not even on the grid. All power is sourced from solar panels or generators. Consequently, the night sky is truly amazing.
Despite letting a good amount of air out of our tyres to cope with the rough going on the dirt road, there were some very sandy sections where the only option was to get off and push. Cabo Pulmo is right on the Tropic of Cancer, bringing warm and very humid conditions. The combination of sweaty bodies, sticky sunblock lotion and dust stirred up by the very occasional passing traffic had us looking (and feeling) like modern day terracotta warriors.
We found a recently built, comfortable, ‘bungalow’ to rent for two nights, just metres back from a fantastic sandy beach strewn with shells and pieces of coral. This stretch of the Sea of Cortez is home to the most northerly coral reef, which is believed to be over 20,000 years old.
The coral is home to an amazing array of tropical fish, which we were able to view with rented wetsuits and snorkeling gear. It was like swimming in an enormous aquarium, with stunning tiny electric blue fish, angel fish with their yellow tails and spotty grey faces and many others feeding on the coral. The whole area is designated a eco park and is really special, very tranquil and well off the beaten track.
Today’s ride out, back along the dirt road, was not too bad as we left early to avoid the heat. There was plenty of company along the way; groups of cows and calves, a flock of sheep, goats with tinkling bells, free range horses, a small spotty pig and a poor hare with a ripped and bleeding ear.
Tonight we are in Santiago, another oasis town with palm trees and a fresh water lake. A former holiday destination of John Wayne and Bing Crosbie according to our host, Sergio.
Tomorrow’s circa 50 mile ride should get us to Finisterra (Land’s End) just beyond the major resort town of Cabo San Lucas. Here the Sea of Cortez meets the wild blue Pacific ocean and we will have achieved our goal to cycle the length of the Baja peninsula.