Halfway Down The Baja Peninsula By Means Of Paddle And Fighting To Stay Hydrated
From Tijuana to Cabo, Ryan and Casey Higginbotham are nearing their final destination.
When we last saw brothers Ryan and Casey Higginbotham at the top of October they were just a click or two south of the U.S./Mexico border. Their ambition was to spend the next seven months paddling over 1,000 miles to the tip of Baja.
After launching their aquatic expedition on October 11, the Higginbotham brothers are currently south of Punta Abreojos and just finished a stretch from Bahia Asuncion to San Hipolito.
“[It] took much longer than expected because of what felt like a north pushing current and a southern breeze. This was until the wind flipped and picked up speed exponentially. It took more energy to paddle in but we made up some of the time and enjoyed scores of downwind rides,” reported a post on their Instagram feed.
Despite a few hiccups, they’re thankfully still alive and appear to be making considerable progress.
From what we can glean from their Insta feed, which is being updated regularly by both the brothers and friends that are supporting them, one of the biggest hurdles they’ve had to overcome thus far is staying hydrated.
“When you think of a 1,100-mile unassisted prone paddle down the coast of Baja many potential threats come to mind. Injuries, sharks, malnutrition, theft, bad weather and seas filled with unforeseen swell and currents may be at the top of the list, but for the boys, dehydration was the biggest threat of all,” read an Instagram post on Nov. 5.
Ryan and Casey have been traveling with a desalinator pump, but using it is a laborious process as it takes four gallons of seawater to produce one gallon of drinkable water, not to mention the energy expended to actually pump the water.
“Best case scenario is they stumble upon a kind fisherman or family with fresh water before they bust out the pump. Slim chances of that happening on the remote coastline of central Baja,” continued the Nov. 5 post.
Getting enough water was made more complicated when the Ryan and Casey made a regrettable error.
“When the guys came down to film last week, we gave them a few pieces of gear we hadn’t been using. A day later I realized that I accidentally handed off our water purification drops. We can boil freshwater to purify it if need be, but that still uses valuable fuel that we need to make hot water for our food. Even finding freshwater here can be a real challenge. Thankfully people have been incredibly kind to us,” read a post on October 26.
Paddling their 18-foot, Joe Bark-shaped paddle boards, the boys have had to be resourceful when it comes to problem solving with the supplies they have with them. In the case of sun protection, at points, they’ve had to resort to wearing underwear on their heads.
“Boxer Briefs. They make one hell of a junk holder, but the boys discovered a new use for their undies…sun protection,” chided a post on Halloween.
For all the hardships they are experiencing, the forgotten communities along the Baja peninsula has graciously opened their arms to Ryan and Casey. They’ve been well received by local fishermen and families throughout their journey thus far.
“Every day we land on a new shore wondering what we will see and who we will meet, this day was no exception,” they wrote last week. “After we landed here, we were immediately greeted by local fishermen wondering what the hell we were doing on giant surf crafts with no oars. The next three hours were spent shooting the bull and conversing in the best Spanish we could. The generosity of the people of Baja is often overwhelming, we don’t have much to offer in return for the water, food, and near familial company. What I can say is that these moments make us realize there is no other way we’d be at this place, with these people, than paddle boarding the coast.”
Ryan and Casey still have a long way to go. They’re not quite two months into the journey with an estimated five more months remaining before they get to enjoy a margarita in Cabo, but given the experiences they’ve been having and the unfettered access to the coast they’ve enjoyed, it appears to be all systems go as they push further south.
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