Three local journalists came out to the beach to cover the story about tuna overfishing and my beach landing. One of them had to leave before I arrived because someone got shot in the head. Even though 2 and half people get murdered on a normal weekday in Tijuana, he still found a neighborhood bloodshed more appealing than the global plight of tuna.
The remaining journalists were attentively listening to the problems of destructive tuna fishing right in front of the US-Mexico wall. The steel bar fence symbolized that tuna destruction is a global problem where walls and borders are irrelevant. In addition to campaigning for sustainable tuna consumption, I bashed Donald Trump a little, talked about the beauty of Mexico, praised this year’s agave harvest and invited them to have tequila with us. They both said it was better than covering a murder.
Here’s what you can do to Change Your Tuna.
After spending my last night on a gorgeous, virgin beach in Point Loma overlooking the city of San Diego, I set out for the final push with the morning high tide.
Navy helicopters, cargo ships, submarines and jetski gangs killed my ocean zen. I also couldn’t spot Tijuana properly. What I tought was TJ was in fact still the US. It was a bit of a letdown to paddle 3.5 more kilometers against the current.
Dolphins and seals escorted me on the final stretch.
The Arcoiris Explorer and I landed on the beach in Tijuana at 14:35. Local news, mariachi musicians and TJ friends made up the welcome committee.
Tequila and euphoria are my dominant body chemicals right now. I hope I can gather my thoughts in a day or two and summarize this very special adventure.
Cargo ship waiting to enter San Diego Bay.
In front of the US border fence on the beach in Tijuana
Great welcome in TJ
Landed in Mexico
This adventure is over. Ready for a new one
Day seven started out hard off the beach in Encinitas. I was craving some performance enhancing drugs. Then I realized that I already maxed out the family CVS card. Here are my drugs and health aids of choice.
Bandages, ointments, joint pain releif spray, Advil for the daytime, Advil PM for sleeping like a baby in a tent, B12 energy shots when I want to feel like a Russian weightlifter.
Today was probably the toughest day of the trip. Things started perfectly with a picture perfect surfzone launch in San Clemente followed by visiting an adorable group of seals and enjoying my morning ocean zen on the glassy waters. Things got even more fairytale like when I paddled for nearly half an hour with a pod of dolphins.
After San Onofre the waves doubled and tripled in size. I had to go farther away from shore. Around 11 I spotted several 3-4 foot sharks near the Arcoiris Explorer. I couldn’t identify them. They looked sharky. Later on, San Onofre coast guard rescue captain confirmed that they sighted juvenile great whites swimming along my route.
After the shark incident I had to make sure that I wasn’t run over by Navy hovercrafts practicing beach takeoffs and landings. I radioed the US Coast Guard asking them to alert the Navy of my position and my peaceful intentions.
The waves got bigger and winds gathered strength after 3PM. The boat was thrown around the swells like a rubber ducky around splashing kids. I cruised into Oceanside marina exhausted and beat. In fact I looked so ragged and worn that a fellow mariner on a sailboat offered me a beer.
After a short, but sweet 10 mile paddle from Dana Point the Arcoiris Explorer landed in the sleepy hamlet of San Clemente. Checked into a beach side hotel and looking forward to an afternoon of massages, conversations with humans, healing my wounds and feeling dry.
Morning on the beach at Dana Point.
Drying on the beach in San Clemente.
After a brutally long (24mile, 34km) paddle yesterday, I landed in Newport Beach. My friend, Razvan Sabau picked me and the AIE up. It was strange sleeping in a bed. I miss my tent, miss the ocean. I don’t miss the chaffing, the blisters and the muscle pain. Yesterday I didn’t lose anything. At least I don’t know it yet.
Loaded the Arcoiris Explorer into Razvan’s school bus.
I have the magic touch when it comes to screwing things up. So far the expedition is moving along splendidly except for my waterproof solar charger. I managed to leave one of the two USB doors open on the device and now I’m with electricity. In a day or two the situation will be fixed.
I’m writing this blog entry from Seal Beach exhausted and soar. Tomorrow I hope I’ll be able to upload more photos.
Follow me live before I screw up the tracker too.
My gear is sorted into categories and packed into waterproof bags. I managed to gather and pack everything. I’m nervous that I’m forgetting something.
Here are the categories.
Health & medical
Camping and repairsElectronics and communications.
T minus 4 days. I’m done with my preparations. I got my GPS tracker. It’s normally used to locate stolen tractors or snowmobiles, but my family insisted on tracking and salvaging my kidney, should things go wrong. I also picked up my missing meals: 3 dozen assorted protein bars and a bag of energy jellybeans.
At this point I’m beginning to overthink every step of this expedition. I spent the last three days finalizing my itinerary and laminating tide charts. One of the key issues I had to tackle is where to spend my nights.
My hopelessly romantic goal has always been to stay as close to nature as possible and sleep in my tent on the beach. Unfortunately Southern California’s number one policy directive is rich homeowners first, hobos and traveling kayakers second. It’s horrible news for me, considering most of the coast is owned by rich home owners.
Laguna Beach seemed to be the most challenging, so I decided to write to City Hall requesting a special permit or exception to spending the night on the beach. In diplomatic jargon their response is known as a “polite fuck you”:
Unfortunately all of those beaches mentioned are either too close or too far from my starting point for that day. In a desperate attempt I turned to where one usually turns for advice on street sleeping. I did a Google search for ‘homeless blogs Southern California‘. Perhaps, I should not have done that.
Laminated daily itinerary and laminated tide charts.
As part of my kayak training program, I took the 17 foot Arcoiris Explorer on vacation. I loaded it on top of the car and drove 500 miles (900kms) from Los Angeles to the Sea Of Cortez, where I annexed and occupied a small uninhabited island for 4 days.
It was a special off the grid vacation that only 1 member of my family was willing to sign up for. The other 3 preferred cell phone signal, electricity and indoor plumbing.
The Arcoiris Explorer became a permanent fixture of our makeshift Robinson Crusoe camp at this pristine lagoon of Isla Coronado. Kayaking on the glassy waters of the Sea Of Cortez was pure joy. It was nothing like the rough and tumble Pacific. It was warm and inviting, unlike its so called “peaceful” neighbor. At 5AM I followed the sounds of blue whales. With the setting sun, I paddled 2 miles to a nearby seal colony. In between sessions I was polishing my paddling style or practicing my Eskimo roll, which is still an epic fail.
On one of my afternoon outings I learned two important things about seals. One, in nature they don’t play with adorable beach balls or clap their flippers together. Two, they can be insanely territorial. Every time I approached their rock colony, 6-7 well developed males jumped into the water and swam right alongside the kayak. As soon as they popped their heads out of the water they turned to me. They kept their distance, but their angry looks spoke volumes. It was essentially their coast guard unit. Needless to say that I kept my distance as well. The arrangement worked out for both parties.
Apart from my underwater camera which got flooded on day two, all my gear passed the test with flying colors. The equipment is ready for the big trip and so am I.