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"A YUPPIE PUSHES 50"
~ A mid-life crisis by Carlos Fiesta
On a warm Wednesday morning on October 24th, 2001 California resident Chuck Chambers (aka Carlos Fiesta) departed Los Angeles Harbor in an attempt to completely circumnavigate the 2,200 mile coastline of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. His ultimate goal was to end up in the south end of the fresh water Colorado River, where it joins the northern end of the Sea of Cortez. His only companion was a 15 pound Halloween pumpkin with a wig and a painted face affectionately called Elvira, donated by his wife upon departure for companionship. Carlos completed the adventure and arrived back at his home in Los Angeles on Monday November 19th. Elvira did not survive the adventure, and was ceremoniously laid to rest on Dead Dog Island in Bahia Concepcion in the Sea of Cortez.
The boat used for the trip was a 19' fiberglass panga that had previously been used as a local boat on the island of Yasawa in Fiji. Stated by many to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world, the island of Yasawa was used as the setting for both the 1949 and the 1980 versions of Hollywood's The Blue Lagoon movies. In addition to being used for fishing on the island, the boat was used to access the outer reefs of Fiji for the local surfers. It was powered by a 40 horsepower 1993 Yamaha outboard motor and a 12 gallon gasoline tank. The skiff was shipped to southern California by freighter in a wood crate and used as a fishing boat in the waters off of southern California until Carlos purchased it on September 11, 2001. Because of the distance between marinas with fuel in Baja the boat was provisioned with 5 plastic auxiliary gas cans. The name of the boat is "Vaka Viti" which means "The Fijian Way".
There was no set itinerary for the coastal adventure, but Carlos wanted to experience an intimate look at the hundreds of beaches and many islands on both the Pacific Ocean side and the Sea of Cortez sides of the Baja Peninsula. The boat motored within 200 feet of shore during the entire trip. Carlos encountered a variety of sea life along both sides of the Peninsula, including dolphins, seals, turtles, fish, manta rays, whales and a many different types of birds. Land adventures were also a big part of the adventure as he spent approximately 8 to 10 hours each day on the water, and the balance of the time was spent on shore each day.
Both the Pacific Coast and the Sea of Cortez were extensively documented with photographs and notes, and much of the information in these web pages has been taken directly from those personal notes.
While most of the boating was just offshore during the entire trip, Carlos stopped and went on shore "wherever the coast looked inviting". When cruising on the water Carlos kept the Baja coastline on the "left side" of the boat to avoid getting lost.
These pages of Baja Expo have been created for others to "follow along" on this spectacular one month excursion and to help others catch a glimpse of the daily life and amazing events that Carlos experienced along the way. Since his return Carlos continues to add information to these pages until the entire trip has been fully documented.
To give you an idea of the 2,200 mile coastal route you can review this space photo of the BAJA PENINSULA. As Carlos discovered during his 4 week adventure "in person it's a lot bigger than it looks in the picture".
Carlos has put together a slide presentation to share his adventure with others, and has shared his experience with members of the distinguished Los Angeles Adventurer's Club, the California Yacht Club, various travel organizations, school children of various ages and over a cold beer to anyone who will listen.
These pages are the first steps towards a book that Carlos is writing about his adventure. If you have any questions about the trip or any comments about his story he would enjoy hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org!