Baja – Helen Head

“Awake?” Katie calls. A beam of light sweeps over me and I give a thumbs up. Ready.

It’s 4:45AM, mildly chilly. There are 5 million stars in the sky, and I think I can see them all. I reach out of my sleeping bag, pull the plug on my sleeping pad and drop to the ground. In an instant, I am up stuffing things into their proper bag, changing my clothes and putting in contacts. I walk over to the kitchen, light the stove, put the water on to boil. Now that’s done. Take a breath.

With the water underway I walk down to the ocean to pee – as I approach, I turn off my headlight and crouch down. Little lights, like stars, glint in the waves as they crash on the shore. Bioluminescence, beautiful. I stay and watch, kicking at the water – spraying stars away with my feet.

5AM. Water boiled, Nalgenes filled with warm coffee and hot chocolate. I scarf down as much granola and powered milk as a just woken stomach will allow. Rinse my bowl, pack up the stove, divide the cook gear. Time for boats.

“1,2,3” Each kayak lifted, one by one, down to the shore, nose in the water. Sandaled feet testing out the water. Angled downward, kayakers find their kayak. Start packing. Stern first, then Bow. Plenty of space, plenty of time. Waiting, watching, helping others. Gather round. Time for a final briefing before launch. Follow the contours along the shore, to our next paradise.

Boats out in the water. Point first – I head out into the sea. One last push from the sand, and my vessel bobs down in the shallows, tucking in for a day on the water. Legs in, skirt on – peace. Pink coming across the horizon, the pod forming around me and I am right where I am supposed to be.

Helen Head

Giraffe in Namibia water hole
Photography
Constance Louie-Handelman

Constance Louie-Handelman
Constance Louie-Handelman completed her A.A. degree at CCSF in 1973. Now retired as a clinical psychologist, she has returned to CCSF 2019 spring semester with a focus on digital photography.

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