Last week we decided to do an extended surf expedition out to a spot called The Wall. However, getting to The Wall can be pretty difficult – so we decided to gear up at a town called Guerrero Negro and then head out on a day when when we knew the waves and the weather would be good.
After reading the weather reports, we decided it would be best to head out to The Wall on Friday – which gave us a day and a half in Guerrero Negro to do our laundry, buy food and water, and explore the town.
Guerrero Negro is known for its huge lagoons and marshes. From late December to early April, grey whales take shelter in the lagoons to give birth. Unfortunately, the whales had not yet arrived in the lagoon when we got there, so we did not get a chance to see them this time around. (Maybe we will see them on our way back up the Baja…) We did, however, have a chance to explore the sloughs that make up part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network – and we had a birding bonanza!
This place had by far the greatest concentration of shorebirds I had ever seen. We pulled out our binoculars, bird book, and drove slowly down to the old lighthouse. It was like going on a birding safari! We saw osprey, great blue heron, little blue heron, tricolor heron, reddish egret, great egret, cattle egret, black crowned night heron, yellow crowned night heron, American bittern, western grebe, brown pelican, long billed curlew, and brant geese. Additionally we saw many types of plovers, seagulls, sandpipers.
On Friday we headed out to The Wall. Despite being a very popular spot with the surfing crowd, the road is not for the faint of heart. The obstacles range from sand, to mud, to ravines, to cobblestones, and boulders. Our Ford Transit Connect only has about 6 inches of clearance, so we had to be extra careful to slowly pass over the biggest rocks. Coming in, we passed luxurious camping suites constructed entirely from cobblestone on the outskirts of the complex. However, we opted for a more modest accommodation in the center, so as to be closer to the conveniences of the location.
Amenities included breathtaking views, proximity to wild and unpredictable landscape, and a ripping right-hand point break. (The bathroom facilities left something to be desired, however…the commode consisted entirely of a thigh cactus and a shovel.) The Wall represents a pilgrimage point for many surfers, and they showed up in force while we were there. There were sun-bleached adolescents perfecting their carving technique; adrenaline-filled chargers working on their airs; and several graybeards who still shortboard despite being close to 70. Several of these graybeards apparently live at The Wall full time during the winter – bringing in most of their supplies, and asking others to bring in sundries from town occasionally.
The energy of the place was palpable. People were there to improve their surfing, and spent most of their time in the water. Eric caught some big beautiful waves, and I managed to catch a few small mushy waves on the inside. Because the road was so dicey, however, we decided to only spend three days at The Wall, as we did not want to get stuck in mud. We took our time driving and managed to make the expedition with our van completely unharmed.