Thank you for visiting Baja FreeDiver. This website hopes to engage the Baja underwater enthusiast. With locations, maps, G.P.S. coordinates and much more, Baja FreeDiver aims to guide the subsurface adventurer in you to the right place at the right time for the best snorkeling or diving experience possible. We hope that we can make your time in the magnificent Sea of Cortez that much more enjoyable. Navigate through our site, and whether you are a seasoned Baja traveler or a newbee, we hope that we can provide valuable information for your adventure.
There is something thrilling about the unknown. In actual fact, not knowing is the essence of romance. Maybe that is why we picked a spot to jump off into the sparkling green water that encompassed Isla Espiritu Santo. There was not another soul in sight, and we were in one of Baja California’s most stunning snorkeling locations.
Jumping off the boat, snorkling gear intact, my mother took my lead and followed me around the small rock outcropping that we had chosen to explore. Our eyes were met by numerous Finescale triggerfish, Green Morey eels, their snake-like bodies slithering through cracks and crevices, beds of Pearl oysters, and vibrantly colored Wrasses.
I spotted a group of Red starfish and pointed them out to my snorkling companion. I knew that she would be excited to see them, as she has decorated her home with desiccated starfish throughout her life. We held our breath and dove down to take a closer look. She looked at me, and I could see her eyes smiling through her mask.
Returning to the boat, we took a breather and talked about where to venture to next. We had heard about the many uninhabited coves that were strewn about the island, so we asked our captain to lead us to one.
Rounding a corner in our 26 foot Pursuit boat, the Maria Teresa, we were delighted to see a spectacular uninhabited white sand beach nestled between two dramatic cliffs. To our right, there was a magnificent recreation of a pirate ship anchored in the cove, inhabited by tourists with kayaks, and, I imagine, snorkeling and dive gear. I was momentarily transferred back to a time when fortune-seeking hunters plundered this island for the bounty of it’s oysters. The gigantic pearl that still adorns the Queen of England’s crown actually comes from this region.
Moving on, we decided to check out what the more tourist-laden sites on the island had to offer. It was time to visit the Sea Lion colony.
Diving off of the boat back into the Sea of Cortez, we were almost immediately approached by a juvenile Sea Lion. In a display of territoriality, the animal got a little too close to my mother, giving her a scare. For the most part, though, these mammals were used to the frequent stops made by boatloads of curious humans, and they have grown accustomed to our presence.
Returning to the boat, we discussed what we had seen with the captain. We made our way back to the harbor in La Paz refreshed and rejuvenated by mother nature.
The Pearl Oyster shares a relationship with Baja Californiano's that is at once both fascinating and tragic. A mixture of politics, love, and corruption run through the story like a good novel.
At the dawn of the 20th century, Don Gaston Vives established a company with the intention of cultivating and harvesting Pearl Oysters off of the island of Espiritu Santo. Between the years of 1909 and 1914, Dr. Vives averaged an annual harvest of between 200,000 and 500,000 oysters, the pearls of which the multi-lingual Doctor sold directly to European Jewelry houses. It was a time of revolution in Mexico. Dr. Vives, whom was also a well-respected politician in La Paz, was at odds with a charismatic yet ill-intentioned man by the name of Miguel Cornejo. Cornejo so impressed the General in charge of Northwestern Mexico that he was granted ships and men to allegedly hold off the revolution by the Yaqui Indians.
He had other plans.
Cornejo and his men looted and destroyed the totality of Vives’ crops which his company had carefully groomed for so many years. Afterwards, the captain and his men set their sights on Vives’ home in La Paz, where they looted and destroyed over 1,000 scientific books kept in the Dr.’s safe. Vives, fearing for his life, escaped to a nearby beach, where he convinced a fisherman to hide him on a nearby island. Eventually, he made it safely to the mainland. Vives spent the remainder of his life attempting both to recover what had been illegally taken from him and to raise funds in order to restart his operation, but his efforts were in vain.
Hello East Cape Fishermen,
This is the Los Barriles fishing report for July 16th - July 23rd.
Congratulations to "Miller Time" for winning the Van Wormer Resorts 15th Annual Dorado Shootout on Saturday, July 21st. With 144 boats competing and over 550 people in the running, Jerry Pifer and his wife took home a new VW 4 X 4 Amarok on a superpanga with their 47.5 lb bull dorado. The second place team swept the side jackpots and took in over 125,000 dollars with their 40 lb bull dorado caught on a cruiser. Thanks to all who participated in this year's tournament. It was a blast.
The weather conditions were favorable all week with the wind remaining mostly calm and the air and water temps in the mid-eighties. On some days, there was a slight breeze from the southeast, but nothing so strong as to spoil the fishing.
The big story this week in the world of yellowfin tuna was a cow being brought in at 182 lbs. It was hooked underneath a school of porpoise. The tuna bite continued to pick up all week with most of the fish being in the 20 - 30 lb. range and taking lures and sardines.
The wahoo are still in town, making for some exciting sportfishing and tasty steaks. Los Barriles anglers were bating the 20 - 40 pounders with lures and live bait.
After several weeks of moving up the curve, the striped marlin bite finally slowed down. It's larger cousin, the blue marlin were still in, with the large pelagic fish being caught and released in the 200 - 250 lb. range. They were taking lures and ballyhoo.
Good news for all the fly-fishermen and near-shore enthusiasts. The roosterfish bite continued to be good this week. Although the size dropped a little into the 20 - 30lb. range, they are still creating an exciting sportfishing experience for anglers before we release them back into the wild.
The pargo, snapper and grouper fishing is excellent, as is usual for this time of year.
That's it for your weekly East Cape Baja fishing report for Monday, July 23rd!
Book your Los Barriles fishing charter on the Maria Teresa and get on down here! We would love to have you.
Los Barriles Fishing Charters.
Israel Castro. Captain.
Maria Teresa Sportfishing
Until Next Week!
Charter the Maria Teresa, a 26” Pursuit boat, for a half or full day of East Cape sport fishing in charming Los Barriles, B.C.S., Mexico.
“After fishing, camping, and being a home owner between Cabo San Lucas and Los Barriles for forty-three years, I have finally found the place where I want to settle. Los Barriles is the ideal spot for anyone who wants a combination of a relaxing beach getaway and a top-notch sport fishing location.”
For the angler who wants to go sport fishing without all the hype, Los Barriles is a prime destination. Located just a forty-five minute drive from San Jose Del Cabo international airport, this quaint and charming beach town offers everything one needs to get in on the big game fishing action. There are several hotels that offer full and half-day charters, as well as independent boat owners whom offer direct bookings.
One such independent charter operator in Los Barriles is 26” Pursuit boat owner Mike Vos. Equipped with outriggers, tuna-tubes, and a center consul with a restroom, his boat has been a success with fishermen since it’s first charter in 2015.
With prices substantially less expensive than it’s competitors, the Maria Teresa is likely to get you the most bang for your buck. Captained by the bilingual and third generation Mexican fisherman Israel Castro, you are just if not more likely to get on the fish than if you had spent more money on a more ostentatious boat.
About Maria Teresa Sport Fishing
Berthed just south of Las Palmas Hotel in majestic Los Barriles, B.C.S., Mexico, the Maria Teresa is available for full and half-day charters through November 15th, 2017. The boat is equipped to handle up to four anglers at a time and is fully equipped to handle Marlin, Tuna, Wahoo, Dorado and Roosterfish. No one can leave Los Barriles without feeling an authentic taste of Baja Californian culture. Find out more at chartermariateresa.com
Certified Harley-Davidson Artist and masterful Hot Rod Artist to launch an online web store where viewers can browse and buy Vintage Car Art, Motorcycle Art, and more. .
“There are some artists that are good, and there are some artists that are excellent; there are some artists that are funky, and there are some artists that are just goddamn remarkable.”
Art collectors, art dealers, art lovers, and automotive enthusiasts worldwide may now view and purchase the timeless work of American artist Tom Fritz online. The website, launching this Friday, July 9th 2017, currently features over one hundred fine art originals as well as seventy one fine art prints. It may be browsed from any mobile device or computer at www.fritzart.com.
If you are interested in Harley Davidson Art or Hot Rod Art, you are going to want to peruse this website. A fine art print or original from Tom will make a prime addition to your home or to your art collection. It could also make for a top-notch gift.
Support the arts and garner a piece of vintage America by buying online this Friday. Tom has a milieu of followers, so get there fast before the painting that belongs in your living space has already been bought.
About Artist Tom Fritz
Tom has been capturing the life and times of American Harley-Davidson and Hot Rod motorists with his brush since 1980. In 2014, The United States Postal Service awarded him with the commission to paint the Muscle Cars for their special series of stamps.. Tom now lives and paints from his home and studio in Newbury Park, CA visit http://www.fritzart.com
He was a fourteen year old boy that lived on the edge of a road in the middle of the Baja peninsula. When I fell to the ground of his house it was his mother that showed no hesitation in calling him to my aid. Even the trucker, strong and confident, trusted the boy to take me to the doctor.
He spoke almost no English and my Spanish, in my frail state, was failing me.
To him, I must have seemed a strange man; white, unshaven, and unkempt. My car, after three weeks camping and two days sick, was a mess. I did not speak his language. My face was pale, and I was rocking back and forth, holding my belly and groaning.
I remember one stop clearly, the boy leaving the car to call for an ambulance. I rolled from the passenger seat onto the ground, looking up at the sky and writhing in pain, holding my twisting stomach. I remember turning and seeing the legs of a man coming towards me. “Get up,” he implored. “You have to go.”
I remember the sight of the doctor, clad in white, and the glowing faces of the two Mexican nurses. I remember the pain of the steel needle injected into my arm. I spent eight hours in that hospital bed, drifting in and out of sleep, before finally coming to my senses and leaving in the afternoon.
A wrong turn had taken me two hours off course on my return journey from the tip of Baja California. To go back to the spot of the fork in the road where I made the wrong turn would have added another four hours to an already lengthy twenty-two hour drive. There was a way, via a dirt road strewn with river-rock, that would spare me the backtracking. I was driving a car that hung very low to the ground. I decided to risk it and try to cross through the mountainous pass.
Nine miles into the drive my engine stopped dead. I had not seen another car pass, and looking around, there was nothing in sight but vast empty spaces and mountains. I had a quarter gallon of water and no food. I left a note on my windshield, hid my expensive camera equipment and computer in a bush, said a prayer, and began to walk back towards the town of La Purisma. I hadn’t ventured a quarter mile when I saw a rancher and a young boy approaching in a truck. The rancher agreed to take me back to the town, where I could find a mechanic. I offered him $20 and he accepted. We traveled through the high desert hills and into the small town. It was too late to get help, so I checked in to a small motel and settled on trying to find a mechanic in the morning. I hadn’t been in the motel room more than a few minutes when I heard a knock at the door. I opened it. A Mexican man, motorcycle helmet in hand, stood, white light shining from his pupils.
“I am here to help you,” he said. “Is this yours?”
He handed me the crumpled piece of paper which I had placed under the wiper blades.
Car broke down. 5PM. Walking to La Purisma. Please help.
“Yes,” I replied. “That is mine. Are you a mechanic?”
“I am good with electronics,” he said. “What happened to your car?”
“I don’t know. It just stopped. It wouldn’t start up again.”
“The problem is electric. I can fix it.”
“Can you come back in the morning?”
A knock came on my door at 8AM. I got onto the back of the man’s motorcycle, and we began the journey through the hills towards my broken down car.
“Your President,” he began. “He is a bad man.”
“Our President, too. It is greed.”
“Old as time.”
“What are you doing out here in the desert?”
“I am working for God.”
We made it to the car. It was just as I had left it. He began to work, and I went to the bushes to find my hidden gear.
I heard the engine start up.
“What was it?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. He then pointed to the sky and laughed.
I got into my car and headed back, following close behind this man on his motorcycle I arrived at the hotel. The owner motioned to a spot on the ground.
“Your car is leaking.”
I looked under the car. A fresh puddle of oil was accumulating in the dirt. I called for my friend.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I can fix it.”
He went to buy glue and borrow some tools.
“We will have to drain out all the oil from the pan first,” he informed me. We sat there on the ground, waiting for the black liquid to empty into a container.
“You know,” he began. “You are not just your skin.”
A small whirlwind appeared next to me, twisting the dust in circles and spinning off. I felt a change internally. I felt lighter.
“Be gone, Satan,” he said.
He looked at me a moment.
“There you are, Michael,” he exclaimed, calling me by my full name.
“Why are you here?’ I asked him.
“I left the United States two years ago,” he replied. I found out my wife had a child with another man. We had three children together. I bought this motorcycle and came to Mexico.”
“Where do you stay?” I asked. “How do you make a living?”
“I go from town to town fixing things, I make enough money to get by. I sleep in the desert.”
The oil had completely drained and he patched the now dry crack in the oil pan. I thanked him.
“So where are you off to now?”
“Wherever God asks me to go,” he replied. I wait for signs.”
I left the town of La Purisma and headed back towards the spot where I had made the wrong turn. About twenty minutes into the trip, my stomach began to ache.
As I got closer to my destination of Loreto, the stomach pains increased in intensity. I recalled that I had eaten a hot dog from a cart in La Purisma the night before.
Checking into a hotel in Loreto, my body began to purge itself. I spent the night moving in between the bed and the toilet. I made sure to drink a lot of water, but, as evidenced by my experience the next day, it was not enough.
Packing up my belongings and handing off the key to the concierge, I began to make my way 15 hours north back to my home in California. I did not get far before my stomach began to act up again. My vision began to skew, the image of the asphalt in front of me was bending before my eyes. I pulled off to the side of the road.
There was a small restaurant across the way. With great pain, I made my way across the street and in through the door. Once inside, I collapsed onto the floor.
“I need help,” I said, the words just a whisper. The woman behind the counter called in Spanish to someone in the back. A young boy appeared. He spoke some English.
“What is wrong?’ he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I am sick. I need to get to a hospital.”
“Can we take your car?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “The keys are in the ignition.”
He helped me get across the street. The world was spinning. My equilibrium was shot.
The boy started my car as I sat in the passenger seat, moaning.
We began a drive to the nearest hospital, which was in a town called Mulege.
“How old are you?” I asked the boy.
“Fourteen” he replied.
“How long will it take us to get to Mulege?” I asked, barely able to get the words out.
“About one hour,” he said. “My mother called an ambulance. Maybe it will meet us on the way.”
After about thirty minutes, for reasons unknown to me, the boy pulled off into a camping spot.
I opened the passengers side door and fell to the ground, holding my stomach and writhing in the dirt. In my peripheral vision, I saw a pair of boots. I looked up and saw a cowboy hat atop the face of a mustached man.
The boy began to speak to him in Spanish. I was too sick to follow the conversation.
“Get up and get back in the car,” said the man, authoritatively. “You are going to be fine.”
I got back into the car and we continued our drive to Muleje. My sense of time was distorted. Each passing moment seemed an eternity. In the distance, I saw an ambulance approaching, but it passed us by.
“Was that for me?” I asked the boy.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
Finally, we arrived at a doctor’s office. The boy parked the car and I got out.
I could hardly walk. A woman, seeing me in despair, offered her shoulder to help me get to the entrance.
I laid down on a gurney and and a nurse asked me what was going on. I did my best to tell her that I thought I was suffering from dehydration.
Soon after, a doctor entered. He had the nurse administer saline solution through an I V and into my vein. I was fading in and out of consciousness.
I spent somewhere between four and five hours in that hospital. At one point, I fell asleep. When I awoke, the nurse informed me that they had pumped four bags of the liquid into my body.
I got up feeling much better, although still a little queasy. I was nervous about the bill, as I did not have much money. To my surprise, it was only $30.
I left feeling very hungry. I found a local restaurant and ordered fish. Finding a table, I sat down. I was still trembling.
There were three older gringos sitting at a table across the way from me. One of them spoke up.
“Not feeling well?’ he asked.
“I got the turistas,” I replied. “I just got out of the hospital.”
“That’s no fun,” he said. “You will be fine.”
I got up to go to the bathroom. In my semi-delirious state, I could not find it.
“It is over there, to the left,” said one of the gringos.
I came back to my table and ate what I could of my meal.
I decided to stay in Muleje for the night. I found a cheap motel and went to sleep.
I awoke in the morning, my sheets covered with excrement. I felt a little better.
I decided that I was well enough to make the journey back home.
I crossed the border that night with only a few pennies and just enough gas to get back to my home in San Diego.
* Author’s note: “La Purisma” means “The Purity”
Word Count - 1,843 words