Baja sailing and kayaking

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 7-14, 1996
Cycle touring in the Loire Valley of France
Baja sailing and kayaking
Summer day hikes in Yellowstone
Hiking the Ozarks of Arkansas
Backcountry trekking in Utah
Spring weather in southern New Mexico

Baja sailing and kayaking
Q: I've always dreamed of going on NOLS's Baja Sailing Course. I love to sail and it would be a dream to go on an extended trip along the Baja coast in a small boat. Unfortunately, NOLS requires that you have $2,200 (not including airfare) and two weeks in October to go. Is there anyone who offers a one-week, small sailboat/camping trip to Baja originating somewhere I can fly to from D.C. in March? I would consider a good sea kayaking trip if it were reasonably priced.
Randolf Rhett
Lexington, VA
[email protected]
Baja has become synonymous
with sea kayaking

A: Unfortunately, because Baja's become almost synonymous with sea kayaking, regularly scheduled group sailing trips are few and far between. Aside from NOLS's two-week course, your only real option for sailing is to book a custom trip with Small Boat Cruising. Sign on with them, and you'll spend a week sailing the Sea of Cortés on a 21-foot Drascombe longboat, exploring secluded bays and islands, and camping on white-sand beaches at night. All you need to do is round up a minimum of three willing sailors, but no more than eight. The only hitch is that because these trips are customized, you need to get organized well in advance. Small Boat Cruising is already completely booked for this spring and is taking reservations for late April 1997. The trip costs $795 per person, not including airfare. Call 707-942-4550 for more details.

Now the better news: Plenty of outfitters offer kayaking trips along the Baja coast--the only difficulty you may have is finding one in your price range. REI Adventures runs a reasonably priced eight-day trip out of Loreto for $985 per person, not including airfare. You'll spend your days paddling the blue-green water of the Sea of Cortés, snorkeling among brightly colored fish, and exploring dry Sonoran desert islands. Nights are spent camping under the stars on secluded island beaches. Departures generally run from October through May, with one March trip this year leaving on the 16th. For more information, call REI Adventures at 800-622-2236.

San Diego-based Baja Expeditions has a seven-day kayaking/whale-watching trip in Magdalena Bay on March 2 for $895 per person, airfare extra. Using this Pacific Coast bay as your base camp, you'll spend the mornings exploring mangrove-lined estuaries and watching for California gray whales to surface in their winter breeding waters. Afternoons are spent whale-watching from skiffs, hiking, bird-watching, or kayaking.

For a longer trip that covers more ground, consider booking a spot on their nine-day coastal islands trip from Loreto to La Paz for $1,325 per person, including meals, kayak, camping gear, guides, and crew. Choose from either a March 8 or March 18 departure date. For more information, call 800-843-6967, or check out "Baja California" in our Winter 1995-1996 Travel Guide.

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