The best team…period!

Ginni Callahan

Ginni CallahanAfter nearly a decade of guiding big-group, no experience necessary trips in the Loreto area (which is mostly about cooking), Ginni decided it was worth the risk to offer something different, and started SKBM.

Through the years of guiding in Baja, Ginni has taken great interest in learning about desert plants, marine biology, geology, and the night sky. She thoroughly enjoys sharing these with people.

Ginni also founded the Columbia River Kayaking cooperative in Washington, tends Slow Boat Farm in the summer, and organized the annual Lower Columbia Kayak Roundup for 5 years. She has traveled to Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Wales, Canada, Tahiti, throughout the US, and of course Mexico to guide and coach. She is certified by the BCU as a 5* Sea Leader, a Level 4 Sea Coach, and a Coach Tutor, and by the ACA as Level 5 Coastal Instructor.

Remote paddling destinations without bears, bugs, or ice intrigue her. Personal adventures include a solo to Isla Santa Catalina, the most remote island in the Loreto National Marine park, renowned for its endemic rattleless rattlesnakes, of which she saw none. In 2012-2013 she sailed across the South Pacific with her now-husband Henrick, in a 36′ steel monohull called Misty. They had kayaks on board, of course.

Ginni’s motivating vision in Sea Kayak Baja Mexico is creating a self-sustaining community of paddlesports professionals in Loreto who will train and mentor future generations of paddlers, guides, and coaches.

Ginni built two wooden boats, Pygmy Boats’ Arctic Tern and Arctic Tern 14. She has been featured in the original “This is the Sea” video and in several magazine articles. She writes regularly for Ocean Paddler Magazine, and makes occasional entires in a personal blog called kayaktravel. She is also a breast cancer survivor who wants to give hope to others undergoing that journey.

Ivette Granados

Ivette GrandosIvette studied marine geology in university, with a thesis on marine sediments, what they reveal about cycles of storm and calm and how that relates to the animal life. She has worked with Fernando Arcas doing research in the National Marine Park of Loreto.

Ivette puts on a kids’ summer kayak camp, organizes geology field trips with universities, and runs geology trips for anyone interested. In 2011 she organized the first long distance swimming competition in Loreto. For several years she has served as the Administrator of the Union of Hoteleros, a group of small hotels and outfitters in Loreto committed to responsible tourism. In 2014 she worked as Director of Tourism for the Municipality of Loreto, traveling throughout the country to promote sustainable, eco-friendly tourism. She is certified as a guide by the Federal Tourist Board known as SECTUR, and received high quality of service certifications through the program known as Moderniza. As if that were not enough, Ivette is also a spectacular chef.

A trip with Ivette is a delight because she enjoys sharing insights on local geology, a broad knowledge of colorful local history, and her culinary expertise with Sea Kayak Baja paddlers.

Marcos Simental

Marcos Simental
Marcos lives in the middle of the Baja California Peninsula and splits his time between fishing on the Pacific side and guiding out of Loreto. A strong paddler and seasoned leader, he led kayak trips in the Loreto area for 16 years before joining our team. Marcos holds his BCU 4-star Sea Leader and UKCC Coach Level 1 certifications. Friendly, mellow, funny, and resourceful, he has a love for the sea and its creatures. A deep knowledge of how to coax food from the sea and a myriad of ways to make it taste delicious are among the many talents he brings to the Sea Kayak Baja Mexico team.

Marcos is a keen observer and is usually the first to spot whales and changes in the weather. His sharp eye and joy in helping people also make him an effective and much-appreciated coach.

Marcos also charters sport fishing from his panga in San Carlos.

Ramon Arce

Ramon ArceRamon grew up beside the San Isidro lagoon in the Sierra la Giganta mountains inland from Loreto. He interned with Sea Kayak Baja Mexico in 2011 while in university, and has become invaluable to us as a man who can do it all: lead trips, fix kayaks, staff the store, drive shuttles, and charm just about anyone. He has his BCU 4-star Sea Leader and UKCC Coach Level 1 certifications, and works with Ivette in the summer to run kids’ kayak programs. Ramon has an impish sense of humor and a contagious giggle, and a calm way of noticing everything.

Ramon is developing cultural tours to his hometown, highlighting the rustic way of life. Tortillas are handmade, sugar is boiled from canes and poured into molds that resemble the iconic El Pilon mountain that overlooks the lagoon. Ramon is certified as a guide by the Federal Tourist Board known as SECTUR.

Edgar Escobar

Edgar EscobarEdgar loves the sea. In addition to guiding kayak trips, Edgar works as a PADI Scuba instructor and Divemaster on live-aboard yachts in prime dive locations around Baja. He’s an enthusiastic Greenland roller, and has paddled almost the entire length of the Gulf of California. Edgar likes to put food on the camp table by free-diving with his Hawaiian sling, and is remarkably adept at it. He has a gentle way about him, and a delightfully silly sense of humor. Edgar’s long-term dream is to run a kayaking and scuba school in Baja. He earned his BCU 4-star sea leader award and his UKCC Coach Level 1 in 2016, after several years of guiding in the Loreto area.

Yuri Hernandez

Yuri HernandezYuri joins Sea Kayak Baja Mexico from a widely-traveled background with NOLS. From New Zealand to Alaska, and of course Mexico, Yuri has led and taught paddlers of various ages. Her well-grounded and calm demeanor gives way to a powerful, fun-loving side. She may offer to share her morning Greet the Day meditation in the calm of morning, and later you may find her upside down doing handstands on the beach!

Yuri has mastered a number of different rolls, and has an effective style of teaching people to do them. She has her UKCC Coach 1 and has taken her BCU 5-star Sea Leader training.

Maria Aguilar

Maria Aguilar
Enthusiastic, energetic, creative, and fun, Maria is a genuine Baja gal! She grew up on the shores of San Ignacio Lagoon in central Baja, home of the famous friendly gray whales, and has been sharing her love of the outdoors with people ever since. She has paddled most of the length of the Gulf of California. Maria holds her UKCC Coach Level 1 certification. In the summer, Maria works as a scuba dive-master and dive instructor.

Erick “Tuku” Gonzalez

Tuku deadpan
Erick “Tuku” has a quiet manner, but don’t let that fool you. He has a wickedly funny sense of humor with a delivery so dry you might think you were in Baja! From mainland Mexico, Tuku has worked as a river rafting guide, and in the Loreto Park for several years as a sea kayak guide. He is also a university professor and loves to share his expertise about geology and other natural history. Tuku holds his UKCC Coach Level 1 certification.

Eder Arreola

Eder surfs
Eder has profound insights and a depth of skill in group management and communication which support his work as both a guide and a business coach. SKBM has benefitted from the range of his expertise. Eder also holds BCU 4-star Sea Leader and UKCC Coach Level 1 certifications.

Engage Eder in coaching kayak skills or discussing life philosophy and you will come away enriched. He also has a sweet sense of humor and a genuine heart for people. You’ll see.

Daniel Trevino

Daniel Trevino
Healing through yoga is what Daniel is well known for. He has a passion for helping people. Daniel is primarily a yoga instructor who is helping out on kayak trips when we need another hand. He is ready with a smile, or a hand with whatever you need.

Isabel Villalejo

Isabel's first paddle
Isabel has a heart of gold and a buoyant spirit that lifts us all up as she cleans the gear we keep bringing back dirty from the field. “Mas regalos!” (more gifts!) she declares with true joy as we pile the bins at the washing station. If anyone needs to know where to find something or get something done in Loreto, Isabel is your go-to woman. She and her daughters are learning English, while some of us are improving our Spanish. The Sea Kayak Baja Mexico house is often full of laughter as we’re sharing an entertaining phrase of the day. Isabel, we love you and don’t know what we’d do without you!

Itzel Martinez

Thanks to Itzel, you have permits to paddle in the National Marine Park. Thanks to Itzel, you can have hotel reservations made for you. Thanks to Itzel, our financial records are in order, and our office keeps running. If you meet her in person, count yourself lucky. If not, know she’s keeping it all flowing so you have the peace and confidence to completely relish your time in Mexico. Thank you Itzel!

Carlos Gastelum

2620CarlosWavesClose.4
Carlos is just joining us for the 2017-8 season. He is a terrific man to have around. He fixes the plumbing, drives the shuttles, sweeps the floor, repairs the kayaks, builds whatever we need, helps his wife Isabel wash the gear, and he does it all with a smile. Welcome to the team, Carlos!

Julia Wentzel

Julia Wentzel
Julia Wentzel is the face behind those upbeat emails that are so full of valuable information. In 2016-7 she ran our demanding rental program with good cheer and quick, creative solutions. Julia is currently heads our email response team.

Alex Lecuona

Alex at Paddle Nova
Alex helps you find exactly what you’re looking for in a trip, a course, a rental, or a dry bag. He is in charge of sales. Find him in the store-front, the operations base, or at the other end of your email. In the summer, Alex runs Paddle Nova in the US state of Virginia. He, his wife, and his 2 young girls spend the winter paddling season in Loreto.

Lupe Sierra

Lupe unloads kayaks at Isla San Jose If you do a Loreto to La Paz or Isla San Jose trip, you will get to meet Lupe Sierra. He lives in the remote village of San Evaristo where he runs a one-table restaurant serving very local, very fresh fish. He also runs our resupply food to us in his panga (motorboat) and provides a safety resource for our trips. Lupe is one of the most conscientious, hard working, and genuinely caring people you’ll find, and we’re thankful for his services.

Jose Sierra

JoseSierra.sq
Jose is Lupe’s son. He lives in La Paz where he does the shopping for our La Paz area resupplies and drives the horrible 3-hour dirt road to San Evaristo so Lupe can bring us the resupplies. In reliability, Jose is rock solid. Running trips that are remote from our Loreto base is challenging, and we count ourselves tremendously fortunate to work with the Sierra family.

Guest Guides

Santiago Berrueta

Santiago BerruetaWhen Sea Kayak Baja Mexico grew to need a second guide, Santiago was the first one Ginni hired. Santiago was the first Mexican to achieve the BCU 5-star Sea Leader award. He can juggle while standing in a kayak. His sense of humor complements his many talents and makes him an internationally popular guide and coach. Santiago has moved to Canada, married, and had a son. He founded and runs Kayak Latins du Nord with his French-Canadian wife Patricia. They offer multi-lingual trips in the whale-rich Saguenay Fjord, and the Mingan Archipelago. Through his company, Santiago occasionally brings groups from Canada to join us in Mexico, bringing it back full circle.

Andrew Emlen

Andrew EmlenAndrew is a respected and passionate naturalist, musician, farmer, and kayak guide. He has guided kayak trips in western Washington state since 1998, originally for Skamokawa Center, and later with the Columbia River Kayaking cooperative, of which he is a co-owner.
Andrew brings a depth of knowledge of birds and other creatures. A spotting scope and a travel guitar are always in his luggage when he comes to Baja. He holds a Masters degree in Environmental Education, and has been instrumental in our Natural History of Baja trips since 2015. Vocal, too.

Neil Schulman

Neil SchulmanNeil Schulman is a photographer, photography instructor, writer, conservationist, and sea kayaker who started paddling in Maine and eastern Canada about the time of Watergate, although he was barely tall enough to see over the gunnel of the aluminum Grumman he was in at the time. He started whitewater kayaking in a Perception Dancer in the Northwest and eastern Scotland in the late 1980s before plunging into sea kayaking. His photography and writing clients include Adventure Kayak, Leatherman, The Clymb, Stansport, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, Willamette Restoration Initiative, and others in the outdoors and conservation sectors. His images were used in the campaign to protect Oregon Wilderness that was signed into law by President Obama in 2009. You can see his writing and photography at neilschulman.com. In his “other career”, he does environmental work, and co-founded the Confluence Environmental Center, which builds future environmental leaders in his home state of Oregon. He likes just about anything that involves a boat, water, wild places, dramatic light, laughter, coffee, and corny jokes: one of his favorite books is Ernest Hemmingway’s The Pun Also Rises.


 

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