Bajia Concepcion, Baja
We wake up once again in paradise, although wishing we had slept a bit better in the heat. At night the breeze all but goes away and our bug screens cancel out what's left. Inside the bus never drops below about 90 and our little fan, while good, doesn't exactly make the place feel air conditioned. Karma pants constantly, Jen showers off a few times a night and we sweat throughout. Karma has also been a bit worrisome the last few days. We first thought just the heat, but then yesterday in addition to simply being sluggish and not wanting to leave the bus she suddenly refused to go n the water and wasnt drinking. We started thinking she had rolled on top of a dead puffer and picked up some of the poison...but last night she started coming around and today seems back to her old self. good to see!
We head into Mulege midday because we're running low on a few things. The most important being water, which we only seem to be able to go for about 2 days before needing a refill. To this point we have been using a spare garrafon to fill our water, but we are starting to have more difficulty finding shops with a spare. Combined with our shortage, we decide to go ahead and buy a garrafon, figuring that the extra water for washing off/staying cool will do us well.
We try buying gear oil and a 17mm hex as our shifting has been "sticky" the last two days and i want to top off the fluid. This is no easy task midday as it means running between multiple shops with limited supplies, no English and of course siesta, which means all doors closing and waiting until their return around 4pm. None of the shops in town had a 17mm hex, so I sift through bolts at the hardware store before finding one with a head measuring 17mm. Go outside and climb under the bus with my makeshift hex (a shiny new bolt and some vice grips) to try this dirty/messy job while still close enough to hit the mechanic if we need anything else. While I'm under, the sky opens up and the clouds that have been building all day start dumping rain-of course. We finally get the transmission fluid topped, use the bolt to cap it off and return to camp/home at the beach.
The next morning we wake up early and take John's kayaks out for a spin. He was nice enough to offer their use and his daily stories about turtles and fish spotting had us excited to try them out. No turtles on this trip out and around the island just out in the bay but the dolphins more than made up for it. We had a large pod pass by us heading into the bay and we paddled to keep up with them as they passed both in and out of the bay with several surfacing only feet from our kayaks. A magical experience but by the time they headed out to sea we scurried back to shore to get out of the sun.
Later in the day we chat with a few different groups who stop to ask questions about the bus. A few surf instructors from cabo who offered to show us some local breaks when we make it south and a group filming a tourist video focused on adventure travel in baja sur. He stops to take photos of the bus but then asks Jen if she'll help out with the filming. A star is born! The crew had just purchased a remote control helicopter/cam for aerial video (from Portland of all places)...and it was fun watching the crew film and photograph Jen on a SUP as though she was an old pro (at both the SUP and modeling).
The frenchies also stopped in for a cameo appearance on their trip back south to cabo and with we all soak and chat in the sea. Once they depart we spent some time on the bus with John trying to figure out why we aren't running with quite as much power as we would like. We actually have the conversation about what we will do if John's belief that we've blown a head is correct and we easily decide we'll stay here and pull the head on the beach and find a local shop to machine things if needed. John is more than willing to help oversee the project and/or use his trailer to house the engine if we need to pull it. There are certainly worse places to do a bit of work on your vehicle, and the plan sounds great compared to breaking down on the side of the desert roads somewhere between here and cabo.
As the sun starts to set and things cool down we get to work, and thus far things look promising. It appears that one of our spark plug wires may be causing the problem, which will clearly be an easier fix! We also climb under to test John's theory about our shifting issues (which weren't fixed by topping of the fluid) and indeed- we have a broken transaxle mount. Looks like we'll be heading back to town for a few other items tomorrow, but we are also eager for news from home...so it fits on many levels.
John's history as an aviation mechanic (and instructor) is fantastic for a couple rookie mechanics and his problems solving instinct and can-do attitude is inspirational. We share another dinner and some music at johns palapa and call it a night to try and sleep through the heat...this time with no storm to cool things down.