March 2019 Baja Adventures

During our Winter in the Baja, we will update this page periodically with the activities and fun things we are doing.  Below are the updates from March.

Building Buddies

We got involved with a group in San Jose that is called Santas Cabo Kids.  This group is made up of volunteers that helps kids and their families who are less fortunate, struggling, or don't have the opportunities available. 

 

One of the branches of this group is called Building Buddies and this is the group we have volunteered with.  One of our neighbors from Peninsula, Barb helped organized this group 4 years ago and what they do is build a 16' x 20' sleeping area on a piece of property that has been purchased by the family.  These areas are in the barrios which are usually on the outskirts of town with no power, water, or septic.  By building this sleeping room, the owners can then construct their outdoor kitchen, toilet facility, and more.  The owner needs to construct the concrete pad that the room will be built on.  The group provides the cement for this, but the owner has to do the physical work ahead of time.  There is also some other criteria that the owner needs prior to the building process.  To date, this group has built 78 sleeping rooms.  They build from January - end of March and meet every Tuesday at 9am to build, it usually takes until about 1pm to complete the building.

To volunteer, you can either donate time, money, or items.  We are doing a mix of all of the above.

Our first build job with this group was on March 5, 2019.  And...we actually knew the family that we were building for!  Since we came down in November, we have been donating bedding, towels, microwave, and more to this family.  It is great to see them actually get into their place!  We have also been trading food with them.  Maria has shared homemade Mexican food (tamales, pozole, chicken mole, etc.) and we have shared Indian, chili, etc. with them.  What a great benefit!

Building the walls.  The guys built the walls laying down. Note: Craig is in an orange shirt.

The girls then paint the exterior walls.  I am wearing lime green.

Building the bunk beds for the kids and cutting the foam for them.

This is the door wall and a solar light is being installed.

First walls goes up!

Second wall goes up!

Almost all of the walls are up!

Working on the wood seal around the top, the door hinges, final paint touch ups.

Working on the front window, the door, and roof.

Final walls is in place!

Putting a window in the front left corner, getting the roof ready for the tin.

Window is almost complete.  The is a screen that is trimmed out and on the inside is a hinged door that can be open/closed.

Maria and the 3 kids watching us build.  Her husband Jose works two jobs so he is working today.  The group also gave them blankets, toys, and clothing for the kids.

Windows (x2) done, solar light done, last piece of tin for the roof.

Finished sleeping room! 

Backside of the sleeping room.

The Building Buddies Crew and the family!

Shelly and Colton Visit

Our friends, the Slaters came for a visit over Spring Break.  Unfortunately, Russ was unable to make the trip so we entertained Shelly and Colton and had a great time!

Of course, our first order of business once we get settled into the condo is to walk to the beach across the road.  We then walked to Old Town San Jose for dinner and to get a feel for the town.

Shelly always likes to do something unique on their vacations and a bucket list item of mine is to swim with Whale Sharks.  So the next day we drove up to La Paz, spent the night, snorkeled with whale sharks, and then drove back to San Jose.

On the route to La Paz, we stopped at our lot in Los Barriles, ate lunch at our favorite taco joint El Viejo, and stopped for dessert in San Bartolo at our favorite ice cream joint Zopilotes.

We got settled into our hotel in La Paz, wandered the malecon and had a bite to eat.

Shelly and Colton's patio off their room.  They had a good view of the ocean.

The next morning we got up and went on our snorkel adventure with the whale sharks.  We booked with EcoMigrations and they were AWESOME!!!

 

OMG....what an amazing experience!  If you ever have a chance to do this, please do it.  This is not the last time I will be snorkeling with them ; )   Whale Sharks are the largest fish and can reach up to 41 feet and weigh 47,000 lbs.  The one we snorkeled with in La Paz was a male juvenile about 25 feet long.  AMAZING!!!!!

The area that we snorkeled in controls how many boats and divers are allowed in the area and water at a time.  We went out on a  small boat with 8 snorkelers total and only 4 snorkelers at a time were in the water.  We would then swim beside the whale shark.   Swim is a relative term...our swim pace was pretty fast - swim, swim, swim.  However, the whale shark was gracefully and slowly swimming in the water.   

Colton, Shelly, Craig, Emer (EcoMigration guide), and me

Colton, Shelly, Jose (our Marine Biologist Guide), me, and Craig

Of course we did not take a camera with us on the boat, so the pictures below were not taken by us.  These are a good representation of the size of the whale shark and how close we were to them while snorkeling.

The next day we spent a little time at the pool and then headed into Cabo for a Sunset Dinner Cruise.   We spent a little time wandering around downtown Cabo, walking around the marina, and clowning around.

One of our neighbors at the Peninsula Condo organized the Sunset Dinner Cruise for our complex.  We boarded La Gringa catamaran and had about 18 people on board.  Our crew of Ariel, Miquel, and Captain Rueben were great!   I would definitely book with these guys again!

On the trip we saw whales (I think they were blue whale), a pod of dolphins, and sea lions. 

The blue whales that we saw there was a father, mother, and their baby calf.  The were teaching it how to blow and surface.  I took about 600 pictures and lucky for you...narrowed it down to just these ; )

This is the mother's tail.  Yes...the boats really were that close to them.   Our captain kept a respectful distance and these photos are using zoom. 

Mom is blowing and the baby is in front of her

And of course, why we came...the sunset!

After we made it back to San Jose, we walked to Old Town to see the Thursday Art Walk and listen to some music.  Colton, Craig, and Shelly clowning around

The next day, Shelly, Colton, and I headed to the beach - Chileno Bay.  Shell did a little boogie boarding, and then her and Colton did a little snorkeling.  I was a pansy and did not snorkel because the water was a little chilly for me ; )

We had a great time with Shelly and Colton.  Although they were only here for five days, we did so many activities and had a great time.  Wish they could have stayed longer. 

THANK YOU SHELLY AND COLTON for coming to visit!!!

Misc Activities For March

At the end of March, Craig and I attended a fund raising event in Los Barriles for New Creation Kids Orphanage in La Paz.  We had a great time bidding on a few items and ended up with a nights stay in El Cardonal which will be a fun adventure.  The band that played is The Lack Family and man, they were awesome! 

The best part of the evening was when we participated in a 50/50 raffle and the winner got to split the kitty with the orphanage.  And...we won!  Our 50% of the kitty was about $600 USD which we immediately donated back to Roberto who is the founder of the orphanage.  It was so rewarding and humbling to have Roberto and about 10 of his kids come up to us and thank us for our donation.  Throughout the rest of the night we constantly got thanks by volunteers and the locals who appreciated what we had done, knowing our donation will fund operations for many days.  What a great opportunity for us to help out.

Craig and I kept busy during the rest of the month of March.  We rode our bicycles, went to the movies at the theater and beach, going to the gym, taking yoga and zumba classes, walking, and of course...spending time at the pool!

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