The best team…period!

Why? Because we love paddling and exploring the natural world. We are fulfilled by sharing these joys with people, We believe all people should be treated fairly, from involving participants in decision-making, to paying staff well, to investing in the personal development of our guides. We believe that supporting each other in our work is a more fun and effective way to do it, and we feel proud of a job well done.

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* Advanced Sea Leader, a Sea Leader Course Provider, 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 to create 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.

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 Arce
Ramon 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. 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.

In 2018, Yuri became a part-owner in SKBM, and we are so much richer of a team for having her this deeply involved..

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.

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. He is an inspired athlete as well, and the only person I’ve ever heard of to have completed a circumnavigation of Isla del Carmen (about 70nm) in less than 24 hours.

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!

Jano Garibay

AR.JanoLaughs
Jano hails from Jalisco where he worked as a volcano hiking guide before moving to Baja in 2017. Versatile and creative, Jano works in the store, and as a day trip guide, and as an expedition assistant. Jano is always ready with a smile and a laugh! He aims to use adventure sports to make positive change in local communities and the planet.

Caro Guzmán

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Originally from Jalisco, Caro fell in love with Baja on a NOLS course in 2015. She is passionate about sustainability and working with young people. It’s Caro’s smiling face you’ll often see when you enter our store, helping you find the perfect day tour or rental for your vacation. She’s also a whiz with numbers, and we appreciate knowing she’s keeping our accounting in order. You’ll love being on a trip with her for all the great info she has about the area, as well as her genuine care.!

Isabel Villalejo

Isabel's first paddle
Isabel has a heart of gold and a buoyant spirit that lifts us all up! She started by cleaning the gear we keep bringing back dirty from the field. “Mas regalos!” (more gifts!) she would declare with true joy as we pile the bins at the washing station. Because of her great attitude and unmatched aptitude for keeping track of things, people, and happenings, and her deep dedication to the SKBM team, and her willingness to learn and excel at anything, Isabel has worked her way up to being SKBM’s Operations Manager. The Sea Kayak Baja Mexico house is often full of laughter when she’s around, and we know things are as they should be. Isabel, we love you and don’t know what we’d do without you!

Carlos Gastelum

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Carlos is a terrific man to have around. Since he joined the team in 2017, Carlos has become invaluable. He fixes the plumbing, drives the shuttles, sweeps the floor, washes gear, witches to locate a water pipe underground, builds a room–whatever we need. And he does it all with a smile and more energy than should be legal or even humanly possible!

Idalia Higuera

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Idalia has found her niche in both kayak repair and logistical support. She drives shuttles, keeps the universe of permits in proper motion, cleans gear, makes really professional keel strips on our kayaks, fixes the dings that come back from every trip, and somehow comprehends the rarest of all languages: Ramonesque, spoken fluently by just one person in the world, and understood by approximately 0.8. She has a lighthearted spirit and a world of patience! She is also a strong club paddler.

Alex Lecuona

Alex at Paddle Nova
Alex prefers to stand up, and for that we respect him doubly. His passion for SUP is contagious! In addition to developing our SUP program, Alex guides day trips and camping trips. He was born in Mexico and loves to come back when he can. In the summers, Alex runs Paddle Nova in Purcellville, Virginia, USA, where he lives with his wife, and 2 energetic young girls .

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

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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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