pixel

The Baja Storyteller
By Martina

Graham Mackintosh’s Newest Adventure

Kayaking to La Paz

By Martina

Graham Mackintosh in Baja
Graham Mackintosh in Baja

It isn’t easy to catch up with Graham Mackintosh unless you’re up to hiking the desert hills of Baja or can paddle your kayak fast enough to catch up with him on the Gulf of California. I am just lucky enough to be a neighbor of his and can see when he drives back from his latest adventure and before he packs up to go off on his next journey. On a gloriously beautiful day, we meet at Splash, the very popular local hangout overlooking the Pacific in northern Baja. He has a new story to tell in his fifth book. Graham has authored four other books, spanning a 40 year period. His books are filled with first hand experiences of Baja which few of us will ever have. His love of adventuring into the wilderness is conveyed in an easy and oftentimes humors writing style and catching one of his slide presentation is over the top entertainment.

We find a table with a view of the heavy surf crashing against the black volcanic bluff and I spread out a big map for a show and tell. Graham has a gentle and kind nature, yet in some ways he is a desert warrior. He faces the challenges of an unforgiving desert, while walking alone with a quiet burro. Now in his fifth book, he will share with his readers what it is like to glide silently along the coastline of the Gulf of California in an overloaded Kayak. Enrique, our waiter, arrives to take our order and wonders about the big map and all the papers scattered about. I introduce Graham as the man who walked around the peninsula on foot. There was a look of disbelief, then awe as he listened to Graham’s two thousand mile walk.

Kayaking in Baja
Kayaking in Baja

Kayaking to La Paz is a working title at the moment. However, Graham has a sense of humor and we talked about jazzing it up a little bit. His other books have titles like Marooned with Very Little Beer and Nearer my Dog to Thee. I asked, “What inspired you to begin this trip?” Graham dives into his favorite subject, Baja, “Well, I’d never done any kayaking. But I was visiting L.A. Bay and first had the thought. So I decided to do a short run from Gonzaga Bay to L.A Bay. I made a mistake this first time by overloading a ‘sit on top’ with everything I needed, including beer. It was an incredible experience and I was hooked. I got away with it because the wind was behind me all the time and assisted me. The wind actually did all the work for me.” Our lunch arrives and we scoot the map out of the way as Graham continues, “I actually did the trip in four sections. First was from Gonzaga bay to L.A. Bay.” Part of the idea was that he would be revisiting his first journey down the coast by foot, but this time he would paddle around the rough coastline of the Gulf of California. “It was a very tough walk. There was one area with sheer rock walls and I thought at that time how much easier it would be to float around the massive obstacle.” The next trip took him from L.A. Bay to the Bay of Conception. “I stayed within 100 yards of shore most of the time. The gulf waters are 5000 feet deep and the shallows drop quickly! Fifty mile an hour winds can blow in suddenly from the west and push you right out into the middle of the gulf. The deep trench, part of the San Andreas Fault, creates cold upwelling water. If you fell in, hypothermia would kill you in minutes. Many people have died in these waters.”

Nature and the wind were governing forces in Graham’s whole trip. But he did have some humorous run-ins with the animals and especially the coyotes. “I had to be very careful of what I left outside my tent at night. One night I was awakened by a rustling sound, something scraping along the sand. When I looked out a coyote was making off with one of my tarps. And for some reason, I still don’t understand, they took off with a bar of soap. I think they just liked to take things.” Coyote is the trickster in indigenous lore, and it is said they like to play jokes on people. It would seem that Graham’s experience can corroborate that. Graham pauses taking a sip of coffee, “In 1983 on my first walk, I ran out of water and couldn’t find my way in the rough mountain terrain. I was delirious with heatstroke. I could have died, but a young goat herder, Francisco, literally saved my life and led me through the mountains down to his parent’s fish camp, “ After all these years, people remembered and welcomed me.” I laughed and said, “It isn’t hard to believe. I’m sure Mexican locals would remember all your flaming red hair and the crazy Brit that was walking around Baja on foot for the fun of it!”

Pelicans in Baja
Pelicans in Baja

The third section was from Conception Bay to Loreto. “The wildlife was beautiful and sometimes surprising. One day I found myself paddling alongside an immense whale shark. There were always dolphins, turtles poking their heads out of the water, and curious sea lions. Sometimes I would put the plastic intake tube to my desal kit overboard to create drinking water when I needed it. The sea lions would swim up to it, nuzzle it, checking it out. I prayed they wouldn’t bite it!” The last lap was Loreto to La Paz and where Graham finished his last two month run in December, 2018. “Usually on the whole trip, it took me two hours to unpack the Kayak and set up camp and 2 hours to pack up the next day. A few times I was ready to launch, only to have the weather change. I didn’t want to take the risk and so I unpacked and set up the camp again.” Graham sighs and shakes his head, “Other times I’d set out when it was still dark and the water was calm. The stars were incredible.” He shared how the phosphorescence in the water revealed all the creatures swimming around him. The first light on the gulf waters was very welcomed, he said, and the dawn sky tinted the water rosy pink; followed by the shimmering sun rising from the liquid horizon. Graham whispered, “Mornings were very special.”

Graham is a great storyteller, he spins his adventures in a way that makes you want to follow in his footsteps. He makes you believe giving up a “normal” life and living off the grid is possible. His fifth book, filled with color photos, will be self-published as an eBook sometime in mid 2020. I asked him if he would be retiring from his adventures into Baja, he shook his head, “I love exploring and discovering, there is still so much to see. And I am awed by how beautiful it is away from all the busy developed areas.” A few years ago, I had asked him the same question and his reply was priceless, “I’ll be finished when they carry me out in a box. I belong to Baja and those who feel they belong. I never get tired of it. To me, it’s sacred and a never-ending source of inspiration and adventure.”

Medusae Baja
Medusae Baja

Graham's website

Martina's email: mteomaya(at)gmail.com

4.7 93 Reviews
  • user logo
    Benjamin Driebe
    From logo

    Absolutely fantastic, I already forgot her name because I have a terrible memory but the woman that helped me on the phone was wonderful,...

  • user logo
    richard carr
    From logo

    fast replies and great price!

  • user logo
    Juan Zuniga
    From logo

    I just would like to know if you guys are going to update the fastpass direction any soon, during the month of January the lane changed to...

  • user logo
    Richard Schweiger
    From logo

    Very professional, very helpful, great policy, I couldn't be happier with Baja Mexican Insurance, the friendly smiles and ease of it all in...

  • user logo
    Ryan Frisby
    From logo

    We use them every time we travel to Mexico. Luckily we have not needed their services yet but getting insurance through them is quick and...

  • user logo
    Jan Muhammad
    From logo

    I need a tourist visa for maxico I'm from pakistan help me sir

  • user logo
    Tracy Moore
    From logo

    Very easy, quick, and professional

  • user logo
    robert kepper
    From logo

    They are very good . There website doesn't show you need a title to bring a vehicle across the border.I was stopped and told I had to...

  • user logo
    Edilver Martinez
    From logo

    Our go to Baja car insurance, everytime we take a visit down south . Usually it's for a day trip either for a quick getaway with the family...

  • user logo
    Daniel Markofsky
    From logo

    Third time working with Baja Bound and they made it easy! Thanks!

  • user logo
    Steve Bender
    From logo

    Have never needed to use the insurance fortunately but the website always works great. Can buy a policy in about a minute.

  • user logo
    Jose Paez
    From logo

    Had a great experience getting insurance at Baja Bound, before I always stoped at the border to purchase my insurance, not anymore. By the...

  • user logo
    JUSTINE SERRANO
    From logo

    I purchased insurance through them & CHUBB for our trip to San Felipe. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to our vehicle having an oil...

  • user logo
    Christian Minor
    From logo

    Team were on point, provided inside information, prices were great and they had my proposal already in the system when I called back....

  • user logo
    Joey Digiovanni
    From logo

    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful

  • user logo
    George
    From logo

    Excellent customer service

  • user logo
    Kellye Pummill
    From logo

    Fast and easy!

  • user logo
    Jennifer Toups
    From logo

    Baja Bound is and has been my go to Mexico insurance company. The website is extremely easy to use, keeps all your info for a quick...

  • user logo
    Cesar Lopez
    From logo

    Very convenient, great price !!

  • user logo
    Louis Schneidman
    From logo

    I had an awesome experience with Baja Bound. Family owned and highly personal, top notch customer service. I have total peace of mind...

  • user logo
    Phil Noble
    From logo

    If you’re looking for Mexican Insurance that you can trust and feel good about while traveling in Mexico, you’ve found the right place....

  • user logo
    Jeff Bunker
    From logo

    Great coverage options . Price buy and print policy , very quick and easy , highly recommend them when driving in Mexico

  • user logo
    Burrell DeVine
    From logo

    Easy to navigate and very competitively priced! I had to call in and add an additional day, they couldn't have been any more pleasant to...

  • user logo
    Nereyda Torres
    From logo

    Me gusta la asuguranza porque la puedes comprar por un dia y te asegura en Mexico por el tiempo que vas ya sea hasta por mes (Translated...

  • user logo
    james whitmer
    From logo

    Best insurance I've had so far

  • user logo
    Rail1riders
    From logo

    Quick, easy, well designed website and not just for Baja. Good rates for temporal residente gringos. We’re not living in Jalisco. Printed...

  • user logo
    Matt B
    From logo

    I always use Baja Bound to source my insurance while traveling to Mexico. Fortunately, I have not had to file any claims. I do appreciate...

  • user logo
    Refugio I. Rochin
    From logo

    Excellent online and by direct phone. Spanish and English with proven response to questions. Website is very informative about driving in...

  • user logo
    Kelly Carney
    From logo

    Yara is very helpful and explains everything. Love working with companies like this.

  • user logo
    Slumdog Gump
    From logo

    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

  • user logo
    Jeff G
    From logo

    Went down to TJ June 11 2020 No problems going into TJ but the way back was a ordeal 6 hours in line to get back into the USA but no...

  • user logo
    don letson
    From logo

    Great renewal process, if only south Dakota would do the same for car registration.

  • user logo
    len buckholtz
    From logo

    SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD. OLD GUYS LIKE THAT. WILL DEFINITELY USE IN 6 MONTHS IF STILL RUNNING AROUND THE WILDS OF BAJA.

  • user logo
    Susana Judd
    From logo

    Easy, quick and fair prices. Easy to deal with if needed.

  • user logo
    Seismic Waterfinder
    From logo

    Very excellent service, needed insurance for Mexico, price was fair. The custumer service rep was Yara

  • user logo
    Nicolas Dervé
    From logo

    Very good ans very fast. We hope all will ben good if we need it.

  • user logo
    Blake Glassco
    From logo

    I will never drive south of the border without Baja Bound in my center console. I was in an accident a couple hours south of Ensenada and...

  • user logo
    JohnPaul Gemelli
    From logo

    Baja Bound could not have made it an easier ... also, I made a mistake and called them having to leave a message ... but, they called back...

  • user logo
    Jeff Brandt
    From logo

    so far so good, however I have read good things about them

  • user logo
    Sengoz N
    From logo

    SERIOUS.

  • user logo
    Kenneth Trass
    From logo

    Getting a policy was simple, Provided more than provider for price comparison.

  • user logo
    Esther Valencia
    From logo

    Super easy to purchase just the coverage you need when crossing the border in your own car. I especially appreciate the fact that I was...

  • user logo
    Larry Cottingham
    From logo

    Great service, very helpful people there.

  • user logo
    Luis Cortes
    From logo

    Easiest way to purchase insurance when traveling to Mexico. I have used their service for the last 7 years and it only gets easier and...

  • user logo
    j dougher ty
    From logo

    EZ Peasy insurance purchase. Great service every time I've used them. Had to cancel one time when my travel plans went away - no problem....

  • user logo
    Paul Niehouse
    From logo

    Extremely easy to acquire a policy. Many options available. Reasonable rates.

  • user logo
    Colin
    From logo

    Super-easy and instant. Very happy with initial purchase.

  • user logo
    Howard M Elster
    From logo

    2nd year with Chubb. No problems

  • user logo
    Cyndee Congrove
    From logo

    Great customer service, quick, friendly staff helpfully answered all questions, very patient with my learning curve on a new product. Would...

  • user logo
    Art Eugenio
    From logo

    I've had Baja Bound insurance for more that ten years now with thousands of miles logged in Baja. Fortunately, I've only had one fender...

  • user logo
    Gabe Matthews
    From logo

    Where do i start..... you dont know you have good insurance until you have to actually use it. I have had Baja Bound INS for over 5 years...

  • user logo
    keith berkley
    From logo

    Been going to baja for 45 years. This is best insurance company i have come accross.

  • user logo
    Ryan Perkio
    From logo

    I have been using BajaBound Insurance for 15 years - multiple trips per year. Their website is easy, their coverage is great, and the...

  • user logo
    RaMon McBride
    From logo

    I have not had any claims thus far so rating is based on ease of purchase.

  • user logo
    Larry French
    From logo

    By far the best service for Mex insurance in Baja. They are personally there for you if you have problems south of the border.

  • user logo
    Tudor Thomas
    From logo

    Baja Bound makes buying insurance for going south of the border as easy as it gets. The website is the easiest I have used and the staff...