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Los Veranos

Meet Jeff.
He’s the only one who gets to ride the Los Veranos Can O’ Peas without a crash helmet.
He owns the joint.
Lock, stock and 14 smokin’ ziplines.
He built it from scratch and still likes to ride after all these years to relive the rush he created
when you step off a platform and scream your way 300m across and above
the mighty Rio Horcones.

For the rest of the world, after a self-guided wander riverside,

the guided tour starts with a harness, helmet and glove fitting with a short demo

and then its off to get high .

and go fast.

There aren’t too many activities where parents, children, grandparents and teenagers all get to experience the same rush and same thrill.

The zipline is an egalitarian tour and proves that there’s no age limit on thrill seeking.

However, like parachuting and scubadiving, ziplining is not an innately human pursuit. To span voids hanging from fibres is not an instinct nor a talent we possess as a species.

Spiders do it , but we have to be pushed, and in the process, convinced that it is really OK. That’s why the first zip is short, slow and low. It’s the teaser that makes you want more. It’s the first of many surprises.

Expect the unexpected: screamers, scream; fears are faced: the mighty crumble and the meek shall inherit the zippydedoodah.

There’s always a helping hand if you need it.

But once you leave the platform, you’re on it and there’s no getting off it, so you might as well relax and enjoy it….et voila! Everyone arrives at the other end grinning like cheshire cats and eager for the next run.


Teenagers, their bravado temporarily checked by lingering thoughts of mexican engineering standards, enjoy the shock of speed, exposure, altitude and experience, for a change, a sport wherein there’s no sexual superiority, no fraternity other than that of secret fear. Equal rights.

Some riders retain the cool throughout the extreme conditions.

some appreciate the passing panorama

and for some, well it’s just too damn exciting for words
(except maybe a shrill and prolonged “OMG…………”!!! )


If children are too small to go themselves they get a personal escort.

(Adult escort service enquiries can be directed to the Head Guide, Pale (pron. pa-lay) Hah!, not really, but girls don’t seem to mind attention from any of the good-looking bilingual guides)!

Having a personal or group video of the tour is an excellent souvenir (and keeps this guy fit).

The names of each ride give clues to the nature of the particular thrill or physical requirements.

(dos cojones)
• •

Throughout the course, the Los Veranos ziplines really constitute a ‘canopy tour’ as they pass above it

Within it

and through it.

After a few hours of group camaraderie, new rivalries emerge and get tested as the tour ends with a challenge race down the river (loser buys the margaritas).

But the tour, the thrills and the challenges don’t stop there….Just when you thought yourself vindicated as a fearless macho, other animals take the stage and
sort the men

and the women

from the boys and the girls.
The animals are part of the casual riverside restaurant atmosphere where you’ll find delicious simple, solutions to the appetite earned from exercise and fresh air.

And after lunch, on a full stomach why not break another few rules and go headfirst into the raging torrent? Ha. not recommended but swimming in all conditions other than wet season floodwaters is a great way to cool off after the tour.

And to continue the los Veranos mantra of doing weird stuff ‘at least once in your life’,
there’s a menagerie of other pettable animals to feed and fondle and freakout over.

You’ll have them eating out of your hand.

Monty Python, the resident boa is a favourite challenge for most people.
Some are totally fearless

and trusting.

Some try and prove something to themselves or to others.

Some just love all challenges (and animals) in whatever guise.

OK. a final challenge quiz question:
Q: what could be freakier than having a tarantula crawl across your face?

A: having it in your mouth!

How will you react?

For more ridiculous fotos from Can o’ Peas Los Veranos
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Sailing in Baja

I’m a lucky bastard with a lousy memory. That’s 2 good reasons for choosing photography as a profession, so at least I have visual proof of all the great things I do in my life.

In the last 12 years I (think) I’ve been sailing in the Sea of Cortes, Baja California 8 times. I keep going back because I get invited to join other’s trips and because I love Baja as much as any ecosystem in the world. I’m always happy to be there.

Thanks to Google Earth and NASA you can appreciate the invitingly convoluted coastline of the offshore islands that lie in a daisy chain just to the North of La Paz.. Each cove is an anchorage going from whitesand beach shelving gradually to to aquamarine shallows and on to deep blue sea and usually protected from 3 sides.

and from 200′ it looks just as inviting.

To leave an anchored sailboat, paddle ashore in a kayak, set off hiking uphill, reach a plateau of red slab rock scattered with looser rubble, hardy stunted plants and tall cardon cacti and there to stretch and feel the wind under the sun and to look out over a seascape of other rocky islands backdropped by mountains and washed by bluewater….

well, it’s heaven on earth for me. For Gordy too, I reckon.

The islands of southern Baja are all about the quiet, the solitude, the elements encompassed, the resilience of nature in a sparse environment, the cleanliness and purity of the light, air and the sounds. It’s a place for meditation with your eyes open observing everything from the expansive to the minute. It’s a feel-good movie without the saccharine. Peregrine falcons live there. I even saw a Maltese falcon there….fair dinkum. Read on.

The first time I went there was with Emily.

(that’s Richey on the bowsprit. Emily’s the 30 footer).

She was lovingly built by one of San Francisco Bay’s boat-building legends, Bill Garvey. She was sweet in every way except for her engine (which is paradoxically and too often the way in sailboats). Richey is also a boat builder so Emily, because she was so well put together, never left anything to do for crafstman Richey so he sold her and set about renovating a string of old woodies that needed his love and his weekends. Emily was also the vehicle for the nuptial flight of me and the missus but that’s another story entirely.

Most other visits to the Sea have been aboard boats from the Moorings fleet out of La Paz. One time we got a catamaran which was like sailing an oil rig but also very accomodating as a viewing paltform.

The majority of trips were made on pop-out Beneteau monohulls produced for the bare-boat charter business. As such they have plenty of water and fuel capacity, plenty of heads and just enough performance to keep them out of too much trouble.

And when you’ve had enough sailing you can always just park the bloody thing and…

go fishing

go swimming

paddle,


snorkle

or explore while someone else does the driving.

You can skip rocks,

balance on a rock


balance your own rocks

or see how Nature does it.


You can find seashells by the seashore,

or practice the ancient art of fossicking.


Sailboats and Baja are good for family reunions


good for the young

the young-at-heart

and the old farts who can rediscover their youth too in the course of an average day’s shenanigans!

In Baja,like anywhere, you can wait for photos to come to you or you can go looking for them.



Oh. And the Maltese Falcon? She was there with us in Ensenada Grande on Isla Espritu Santo – all 289 feet of her and attended by sundry support craft from a classic 100′ European motor-sailor to a two-man sub! The largest privately owned yacht in the world.

more pix from the 2008 sailing tour of Baja