Ojo de Liebre
We could have stayed on santispac for a month… and in the future may well do just that. But for now, we move forward. Ben has already left portland heading south and we have a few days to make it north to Guerro Negro where we plan to meet. We stop in the town of mulege for lunch with Barron and Bruce, who we met on the beach the day before. Barron has been coming to Mulege for over 25 years and knows the town inside and out. We enjoy lunch and a beverage over stories and then take a few minutes to go see their homes down by the river, which sadly are being repaired after the last hurricane/flood. They show us the high water line a full 4’ above the second story floor. This is the 6th time they’ve had their homes flooded here. Ouch.
We stay for the night just outside of town where the only other vehicle happens to be a couple from Portland. Since reaching baja, the number of people we meet from oregon easily outnumber all others 2to1 if not more. So proud of our state!
In the morning jen and i pull into the pemex. I fuel up while jen hits the tienda for groceries before a few nights off the grid. I get back in the bus to leave and something makes we think about the fact that our credit card was declined and i climb out to ask for the receipt, just in case we get charged.
Our credit card is declined more than its accepted, and i honestly have no idea why i thought to ask but as our attendant struggles to find the receipt and looks around him on the ground…so i in turn look under the bus. The receipt isn't there but a giant puddle of gasoline dripping out from beneath E quickly redirects my attention.
Fuel is trickling out of the line from the tank at a rapid pace so i hurriedly grab some tools and climb under E to try and stop the bleeding. The fuel line is badly cracked and any attempt to move it simply opens the crack more widely and turns a trickle into a full stream spraying out from the hose. I pull apart the line and try shoving anything we have (screwdriver, nail, pencil, chopstick) into the line to stop the flow but we don't have anything the right size.
By the time i finally get the leak plugged/repaired we have lost at least a gallon of fuel and I've taken a full on gasoline shower. Not exactly how i planned to start our day (or what i wanted to smell like for our day’s drive), but I'm feeling extremely lucky that a major fuel leak once again decided to happen while we were stopped, and that somehow a missing receipt led us to find it… again without flames! That said…seems its about time to replace all our hoses as soon as were in a good space to do so.
We spend the next night in San Ignacio (in yet another hotel mostly destroyed by the hurricane) and then onward to Guerro Negro. As we drive down the road a bee flies in the front window (always open for air conditioning) and stings me on the back. I scream and wriggle around in my seat and then get hit again on the ass. Still trying to keep one eye on the road i standup in the seat, and awkwardly pull my shorts to the floor. I ask jen to grab the first aid kit from the back (im only slightly allergic) and as she's digging i realize I'm now diving through baja completely naked.
The humor in the situation received at least most of the sting’s bite and the image of me sliding my ass off the seat for jen to apply the sting-eaze full on made me laugh out loud. I most certainly was giving a full moon to anyone who passed. Jen decided i shouldn't be alone and for at least a while we drove baja even more “free” than we have in the past. We hit the coffee shop expecting to wait a few hours for Ben, but they pull in before we even let karma out of the bus. Prefect timing! We meet Jim, his traveling companion for the trip and start our short journey over to Ojo de Liebre in search of whales (but not before grabbing a few tacos from the stand next door).
We pull off the highway toward Ojo, drive through the salt flats the last 30minutes and then arrive at our palapa for the night. Ojo de Liebre is the primary birthing ground of all Grey Whales. The termination of their journey south from Alaska every year. We have heard such great stories about the whales here over the last few days that we decided it was worth the money to take a tour in hopes of spotting my first whale.
As it turns out, we don’t even have camp setup before i’m staring out at the lagoon and see a whale breach in the distance. All four of us immediately turn and stare in that direction, and as our eyes adjust we are pointing out whales by the dozen. Its otherworldly. A day ago i pictured taking a tour in hopes of seeing a whale, two if we were lucky and hoping that the boat ride was pretty enough we weren't disappointed if we weren’t lucky enough to spot them. Now, we cant look at a section of water without seeing 7or8 together. Our excitement is through the roof!
We finish setting up camp in between talk of whales and jen and i watch the boys slowly unwind form their drive and their lives back home. We threw out the idea to just about everyone we know to come meet us in mexico for a portion of the trip… either flying into some point south or driving to baja. With out much more than a single mention of the idea, Ben surprised us by leaping on the opportunity and now here he is- staring out at a whale filled lagoon in mexico with us.
So proud of him for coming, and thrilled to spend the next few days together!! We wade out into the lagoon and later meet our tour guide and host, shari. No less than three different couples have told us to take a tour with shari over the last week. We were clearly meant to come here and experience this with her. She’s a firecracker of a gal thats been coming to Ojo for over 25years studying and tracking the whales south from BC. She now lives just on the other side of the lagoon and camps here for a few months each year with the whales. Today is her first day and she's almost more excited than we are!
We all watch an epic sunset slowly unfold and then stand with heads cocked back staring at an impossibly clear display of stars. There are no lights to dim their presence and its breathtaking for about an hour, but then our attention is diverted to the moon rising (our second full moon of the day). As it comes up over the horizon its glowing in orange. We barely speak a word as it fills the sky and when i wake in the middle of the night you can barely tell its not daytime.
I can almost make out my shadow on the ground beneath me as i try to capture our fog cloaked campsite in a photo. I realize as i stare into the fog that its like the ground is breathing around me. From our camp i can hear the whales blowing in the night. A show i cant help but wake jen up to experience. She wraps up in a sleeping bag and stands at the edge of the fog staring into the abyss and listening to our friends beyond while i attempt some photos, lit only by the glow of the moon above us.
They say this place is magical…and so far i’m inclined to agree.