Shipwreck, East Cape, Baja
We hit the road to explore the southern tip of baja and the east cape, a bit concerned about the hotter temps people keep warning us about... but excited for uncharted territory.The drive south quickly delivers untouched beaches and beautiful rolling hills. It's hard to imagine all this lush green as brown desert only weeks ago. We have heard time and time again about the transformation that took place in early August as three days of rain blanketed the area and awoke the colors we've been lucky enough to experience throughout our drive.
Despite knowing it was coming, the size of cabo still comes as a complete surprise to us as we crest the hill and see it for the first time. Like driving through the desert and stumbling upon Vegas...simply surreal. We turn off towards the cape to avoid actually having to go into cabo, and settle instead for the view of cruise ship, para sailers and sunburnt tourists from the Costco parking lot (where we hoped to find a beach umbrella but instead found a great deal on some produce and tequila).
San Jose del Cabo looks good in comparison but is still way too large for our taste. We drive through the central square still decorated from the holiday and grab a few tacos (to stop me from getting any more hangry than I already was) and continue on our drive.
Our drive into the east cape was nothing short of comical, and were it not for stories that others had just made the drive I'm certain we would have given up. The swedes had told us of a new (paved) road that would save a ton of time to shipwrecks surf break, but you had to first find, and then bribe the guard to get access. We come across the same guard without realizing we are there because the sign actually reads "closed for construction" and we can clearly see the road washed out ahead. We also see someone pass from the other way so Jen chats with him again and we somehow get waved through...no money involved.
If this is the fast/paved road, we hate to think of how slow the other is. The pavement is new and fresh, but no thought was given to drainage and every few hundred meters the sand has completely washed over top of the road creating obstacles from sandy bumps to full on mini sand dunes. We finally hit a choice of roads, one dirt with a sign and straight ahead, and the other paved, without a sign but pointing towards the ocean (we of course choose ocean). This road soon becomes finished in concrete and actually may have seen an engineer but is far from straight and has stark curves that seem to have avoided the smallest of tree. We feel as though we must have made the right choice until we run into another set of chains across the road and another guard.
This time, an impass...if he's willing to accept a bribe to continue, he certainly isn't willing to share it with us (or he's using words we don't understand) and says his el jefe simply wont allow it. We leave after asking to talk with el jefe and later realize that might not have been the wisest questio as we don't know who owns the walled compound ahead or how he paid for the extravagant road that brought us here.
We backtrack several miles and take the signed choice, only to eventually have the road end at a deep ravine. They haven't finished this road through to the east cape yet, but why nobody thought to put a sign back an hour ago telling us is closed is perplexing (oh wait...the original guards chain may have said just that). Somewhat dejected and entirely confused, we pull another u-turn and discuss whether we completely misunderstood being able to make the drive right now. A few 100 ft back we see a small dirt road that looks more like a single track but it is pointing towards the ocean, so we give it a shot. Slow going on this washed out and bumpy trail but it eventually runs along el jefes concrete road and we see the "junction" that was clearly marked with a tire thrown over a cactus. How could we possibly have missed that?
We continue along not knowing whether we are on a driveway, dirt road or the path directly to el jefe's firing range, but continue until the road drops us to a viewpoint over the ocean right next to a ravine. We pause to take in the view and prep for another Uturn before realizing there is a surfer on the break below and then slowly attempt to traverse down the ravine towards the break. Oddly...we find ourselves staring at shipwreck beach, and much like the logic behind the rest of our drive today- there's no wreck anywhere near this beach.
After walking the shore and realizing we won't be able to drive E anywhere near the handful of palapas we head uphill and park with a view down to the beach and break. We first check in with the owner of the only house on the hill to make sure we aren't stepping on toes, but wisely wait for the caballero to put down his machete and buy a coka from his little thatch tienda before asking for permission...
We spend sunset watching the handful of surfers paddle out to the impossibly clean and glassy overhead sets coming in one after another and wish our skills could handle this wave. Instead we will continue exploring and are stoked to come back here a bit more comfortable with both our boards and our skills. After sunset we cook naked in the complete darkness to stay cool and then go to bed amongst the thundering crashes of waves breaking on shore. If this post is too long, the decibels of the waves 50' beneath us is clearly to blame.