After spending 4 nights at San Juanico exploring the beautiful bay and surrounding areas (and waiting out yet another Norther) we pulled out on a sunny, calm Sunday morning to head North 55 miles to the many anchorages inside Bahia Concepcion, a 24 mile long, 3 mile wide bay just south of the town of Mulegé and the 27th Parallel. We rounded Point Concepción after an uneventful trip and were planning to anchor at a spot called Playa Santo Domingo, just inside the NE corner of the bay, and across from Mulegé. We were told that there was good cell signal there and we figured we’d spend the night catching up on internet. However, as we were rounding the point, the winds were picking up, and by the time we reached Santa Domingo, the wind was at 20 knots and there were whitecaps and good little swells in this poorly protected anchorage. We elected to continue on down the bay. The wind was, for the first time of the season, coming out of the South, so we proceeded to a lovely bay called Playa Santa Barbara, our first S wind anchorage in the Sea of Cortez. We were alone in the anchorage. There was a camper and some fancy yurts set back from the beach, but none were occupied.
The next morning we kayaked around the entire anchorage, exploring the rocky shore on the E side, the mud flats and mangroves at the head of the bay, the estuary on the W side, and at the NW corner of the bay, a pearl culturing setup consisting of a 55 gallon drum float at one end of a line and steel mesh bags containing small oysters. We didn’t find the sunken sailboat that was reported to be in the anchorage and wound up not having a good chance to look for it.
Later we took the dinghy a few miles over to Playa Coyote in search of a tienda and avocados. We found the tienda, but no avocados as they weren’t stocking any fresh stuff because of lack of people to buy it. We did enjoy a very nice meal of chili rellenos con camarones with rice and beans (and a couple of Pacificos, of course) at their outdoor restaurant, homemade just for us as the only people there.
That afternoon, I started noticing swell rolling into the anchorage. I was surprised, as the wind was light and the forecast was for continued light winds overnight. It was just about cocktail hour and I had already prepared our libations… but the swell was getting larger, and looking North, I could see whitecaps. We decided to move. Because this was a S wind anchorage, it was completely exposed to winds from the North. As we were exiting the bay, the winds climbed up into the 15-20 knot range, which would have made for an unpleasant night indeed. We moved a couple of miles up to a spot called Posada Concepcion in the NW corner of the larger bay. There were colorful houses along the beach and up on the cliffs, and Highway 1 runs right beside the bay in this area.
The next bay over from us is called Playa Santispac, and a couple of other Nordhavns we know from last season were anchored in there, along with a couple of sailboats. This offers the best protection from the North winds that came every afternoon for the week we were there. There is a palapa on the beach that has good food – we had some tasty breakfast pastries – and internet service by the hour. It serves an RV park that is nearly empty and the normally crowded anchorage. Our friends on Gitana and Last Arrow told us that the beach was full of RVs at this time last year, mostly Canadians that didn’t make the trip down this year.
Right in front of where we were anchored was an island that the birds clearly felt was a good nesting spot, and was frequented by locals who were fishing and diving off their kayaks. One man showed us the fish he was catching and said the name in Spanish which we didn’t understand. I thought it was a triggerfish. He said it was good for ceviche and other dishes. A reef just beyond it might be a good snorkeling spot, but the water is still too cool for that (for us anyway).
On another day we spent a few hours on our own “private” beach searching for shells and soaking up some sun while the wind was down.
We ended up spending about a week of windy and somewhat chilly days here. It’s a beautiful spot, and we actually feel lucky to have been here without the usual crowds. We are sure there is a very different feel to it when beaches are packed with RVs and the anchorages with boats.
Editors note: Gwen provides nearly all of the photos for the blog and the strain and pressure of our rigorous production schedule are getting to her. She recently suggested that we should reduce the posting frequency on the blog! So, if you love Gwen’s pics and posts, please comment and send her some love.