Overlanding Baja - Week 7
February 1, 2022
A few months ago, Kuan somehow convinced Victor that a week-long silent meditation retreat on a kayak would be fun to do while we are in Baja. That happened last week. How did it go?
Monday: Day Trip to Misión San Francisco Javier De Viggé-Biaundó (2hr / 80km)
Since we didn’t take the time to visit the misión the last time we were in Loreto, we decided to drive the windy mountain road to visit the church before our evening kickoff meeting with the paddling and meditation crew.
The village and the misión were very cute and well maintained. In the back of the misión was a grove of olive trees that were planted in late 1700s. They are perhaps the oldest olive trees in the Americas.
Tuesday - Monday: Meditation and Kayaking in Nature
When we signed up for the retreat back in the fall of 2021, we had some general ideas about what to expect for the week. For example, we knew that we would be kayaking for 2-3 hours a day, camping on the beach, and meditating in nature. But we had no idea how many people would be on the trip, or what the daily schedule would be like. So we were both excited and nervous to meet our kayaking guides and the rest of the crew for the first time Monday evening at the local office of the outfitter, Sea Trek.
During the kickoff meeting, we were greeted by our meditation teacher Susie Harrington and 12 other fellow paddler-meditators. We met our three fabulous kayaking guides, and were given duffles and dry bags for packing for the early departure the next morning.
It was a week of silent retreat, so besides communicating the essentials and logistics, we were encouraged not to speak to one another. In the mornings, we woke up around 6am for a sunrise sit, followed by breakfast, morning teaching, and a period of sitting and walking meditation on the beach. After lunch, we were encouraged to take our mindfulness practice into the activities: swimming, snorkeling, standup paddle boarding, more kayaking, hiking on the island, or simply enjoying the view. The dinner bell rang around 6pm, and after a delicious meal, we gathered together for a final guided meditation before settling onto our sleeping pads under the stars.
Looking back, our shared takeaway was a deepening of our love and appreciation for the natural world. With nothing to do but to be present with each moment on the ocean and on land, we were humbled by the rhythms of the waves and tranquility of the mountains. When we looked with quiet eyes, we saw how intricately connected we were to this world. From the place of connection sprung our deepest gratitude.
A phrase from one of the Susie’s talks summarized the week well: We are neck-deep in grace.
May we remember our grace and stay open to the lessons that are constantly offered to us by the natural world.
Upon returning to civilization, we went to pick up Margo from Dassia, her caretaker for the week, and found out that she fended off an aggressive street dog to protector Dassia and got some battle wounds! Luckily, the cuts were nothing serious, and Margo has earned her Purple Heart in Baja. So please give her a salute the next time you see her.
Our journey north will continue today. See you next week!