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Malarrimo is a gateway to the unexpected. Among the hundreds of secluded beaches on the Pacific side of Southern California, Malarrimo is the quintessential deserted shore. Misty dawns break over seaweed-ridden sands that are frequented by lonely coyotes looking for clams, crustaceans and fish stranded by the surge of a wave.

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What has accumulated at the foot of the high dunes after a milennia of incessant northwest winds and currents is incredibly diverse. Shipwreck timbers, bottles, a thousand kinds of plastic, but mostly pine logs or rough wood tables that have traveled for months across the ocean from the Sea of Japan, or along the coast from upper California.

Sea currents are tumultuous rivers that meet here at the bottom of the peninsula to deposit what they have dragged and carried. From the Navy, there is everything from K rations to dehydrated vegetables cans to active torpedos. There are fishing boats, nets and potbellied pieces of glass buoys entangled with colorful ropes, paddles, pieces of masts, lobster traps and more.

Loneliness is the dominion of Malarrimo. To the north, the lights of Guerrero Negro wink in the night and the howl of a coyote on top of a distant dune, his dark profile silhouetted in the silver coin of the moon, brings romantic images of the desert to mind.

 

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During the day, there is the cawing of crows and the continuous sound of the angry surf as it slides along the sandy bottom to stop at our feet and leave us the gifts of Neptune; a helmet that fell from the deck of a tanker shaken by a typhoon; the ribs of a Filipino proa stricken off of Cebú; a blue bottle with a message sent before there was Internet. There are thousands of stories to imagine.

Reaching this place must be by sea or in an SUV over the high dunes that stretch from Turtle Bay to the west. The adventurous can test their skills and cut through the Vizcaino Desert, down to the northwest from San Jose de Castro Sierra, over dry stream beds with no visible route and following one’s instincts to find the dream of treasure seekers that is justly called Malarrimo.

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