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Walt Drechsler

Bahia Concepcion – So Little Time – So Much To Do!

When we left you last we had left Punta Pulpito following a spectacular sunrise and caught a good breeze up to Bahia Concepcion. We ran under a broad reach for quite awhile and then had to switch to wing on wing for the last hour. Linda put a pole out to do a little fishing but nada! I don’t think our buddies were having any luck either. We had just dropped anchor in Posada Concepcion when I ran out of words…… That has to be a first for me!

Bahia Concepcion is a very large bay created by a peninsula along the East side of the Baja. The bay is approximately 25 miles long with many areas just begging to be explored both above and below the waterline. It will take much more time to properly explore than we have allocated this trip but we will give it a good shot with the time we have.

Posada Concepcion looking SE

The forecast called for strong winds out of the south beginning Monday so instead of the popular anchorage at Santispac where we would be exposed to Southerlies, we elected the less used anchorage at Posada Concepcion for the first part of the week with the intention of moving if the Northerlies filled in as predicted. With the exception of a few resident boats we were the only ones in the anchorage. This always begs the question whether we we are fortunate to be by ourselves or I’ve made a very poor decision.

The bay shoals extend along way from shore. We made a wide circle checking depth before finally setting the anchor in about 15 feet of not so inviting water. We keep hearing it will clear as the water warms. Sure hope so because we are coming back to explore more in the spring! The anchor settled in and stuck well. The beach was along way and the water very shallow so we carefully “dingyed” (is that a word?) to shore and were able to run the motor in shallow mode all the way to the beach. It’s sad really. We’ve had this motor for about 4 years. One day I’m browsing through the manual and realized it has a shallow water setting on the tilt arm. Been using is alot since then!

Pellucidar riding at anchor way out there!

We noticed there was a small channel marked with PVC pipe. At one time the channel was much deeper but had filled in over the years. For the most part it works from mid tide up…… sort of.

Posada is a nice little community of expats. As we began exploring we met Lynn, a long time resident there. She introduced herself as we were trying to figure out the community map. The map orientation is upside down so it’s a little confusing!

The “town” or better description would be community, is a collection of residences mostly inhabited during the winter months. The structures range from RV’s with covers and out buildings to actual homes. The units are owned but the lots are leased. Water is supplied from a reservoir up the hill but the pressure is very light. Power is provided by a diesel generator that runs approximately 12 hours from 10:00am to around 10:00pm

We had heard there were a couple of hot springs here and we were really looking forward to a warm soak. It took us a bit of exploration to find out where these were located. Once we did find them they did not look as inviting as we had hoped.

The “hot springs”

Both hot springs are within the community of Posada Concepcion. This one is on the Northern end of town and the other is right by the little pier next to the dingy channel. This one looked like it had not been “flushed” for quite some time. The one near the little dock was much cleaner and probably gets used more often but you are on display in front of the entire village. No thanks.

Bahia Concepcion – Mulege

Next morning we decided to visit Mulege and the only way we could see getting there was either to beg a ride from one of the residents or hitch hike. Now mind you neither one of us has ever hitch hiked before! Ever. We decided that if we wanted to get to town bad enough we were going to bite the bullet and hitch hike into Mulege. (Pronounced “Mule Eh Hey”). We arrived at the beach early so the tide would provide enough water for us to motor all the way in. As were were getting our stuff out of the dingy and organized for our trip to town, we met a young couple with two kids who had a house on the hill overlooking the bay. It was a beautiful morning and they were just getting the kids set up to take a quick ride around the bay on their SeaDoo. Somewere in our conversation it came up that we we were going to hitchhike to town. Matt said “don’t be silly, we have a couple of rigs here, just use one of ours.” That kind gesture just made our entire day much more pleasant. Matt hooked us up with his Suburban and we took a very scenic drive into town. Mulege is about 14 miles from Concepcion. We drove past Sanipac and up over the hill. It seemed like no time before we arrived at the town entrance. We found a place to park where we could wander around a bit and his car would not get towed! Before we left Matt explained there was one little quirk with the Suburban but it was no big deal. The key tended to stick “every so often” as Matt put it and would not turn to start the vehicle. Well, “every so often” turned out to be “every time we tried to start the car”. It made our adventure just that much more adventurous. Only once did we consider looking at the bus schedule… Ok, maybe more than once!

Mulege is more of what I imagined a normal town in Mexico would look like. Narrow streets with little shops and vendors down both sides.

Downtown Mulege

Mulege is an oasis town located at the mouth of the Rio Santa Rosalie River. The river runs right through the middle of town. Unlike other towns we had visited along the Sea of Cortez, Mulege is situated about 3 miles upstream from the delta. We had not seen palm trees since we had left La Paz so it was a real treat to see the river here was lined with them on both sides. It was absolutely beautiful. The official name is Heroica Mulege. The title apparantly had to do with incidents occuring the Mexican – American War (1846-1848) – Google Mulege. It’s a pretty interesting read!

Rio Santa Rosalia

The streets were narrow with no evidence of the big box or chain stores we have seen in the some of the larger towns. Perfect! The tiendas and restaurants were all locally run with an authentic flair of Mexico. We had it on good suggestion the El Canil had the very best hamburgers anywhere and we were ready for a good burger. Walking in from the bright sun it took our eyes a few moments to adjust. The warm wood and rough rock interior came to life as we were greeted by the friendly bartender.

We both ordered margaritas as we placed our order of burgers and fries. The drinks arrived quickly and while we waited for our burgers we sipped at our drinks. At this point we had very little food in our system as we had skipped breakfast and were running a bit late getting to town. We had been told the margaritas were good but these seemed to have an unusually generous shot of tequila. It nearly put me under the table! I’m doing my best to transfer the rest of our experience in Mulege to the blog but don’t remember most of our adventure after lunch! It was only after a good sized cheeseburger, some walking, and a stop for coffee did I finally recover enough to continue on in a mostly straight line.

After our walking tour of downtown and the local souvenir shops, we climbed back into our borrowed Suburban (sober by this time) and took a drive out toward the lighthouse. The paved road, wide enough for only one lane of traffic but expected to handle two lanes, soon gave way to dirt. Great way to meet new friends! The road curved along the river delta and ended at the lighthouse. Lots of construction going on as we approached and it looks like they are preparing to open it up for tourism in the near future.

It’s not quite open yet however. The courteous but stern officer explained this to us as we wandered past the sign saying prohibito! (I’ve always believed begging forgiveness is much easier than asking permission) “Do you speak Spanish?” He inquired. “Mui poco” was my reply. He shook his head and sent us back down the road pointing out the sign. As we turned around he said something to the effect it would be open middle of March. (Very loosely translated) We were a bit disappointed as the view from that point would have been spectacular but maybe next year!

Driving back toward town from the lighthouse provided a perspective we had missed on the way out. I think we were too focused on our destination to notice the beauty of the delta! The tide was out and the shallows were teaming with life!

We even found a meeting of the clams. I have a feeling someone was planning on having these for dinner later!

Our next stop was a visit to the prison. This is in N0 WAY related to the previous trespassing story. Really it isnt!

The prison was built about 100 years ago and not shut down until the early 70’s. This prison with an open door policy. The incarcerated men would leave during the day with a promise to return promptly at 6:00pm each night at the sound of a conch shell horn. If we did end up incarcerated this would be the place I would like to be! We could see the large white building on the hill from several areas throughout Mulege. From the downtown area we zig zagged through a few very narrow dirt roads and finally reached the prison on the hill.

The sign on the door said they were open everyday (again loosely translated) but the door was padlocked shut. I guess their open if you have a key…What happened to the “open door policy?” After our last indiscretion we felt breaking into a prison may be crossing a line of some sort. We took lots of pictures and satisfied our selves with having arrived. The view from the hill gave us a pretty good view of the town down below. Before we got back in the car we discovered a set of stairs that led right into town. I’ll have to do more reading about this one.

One more stop before heading back to the boat. We left town and headed back out onto the highway as the lower bridge over the San Rosalie River had been washed out. We needed to reach the other side to visit the mission. We arrived at the mission but found it was closed as well. Just being on the grounds located a little ways upriver from the town was stunning.

We circumnavigated the building and walked out back to the lookout built over the river. It seemed like the little river was just begging to be explored by dingy. Maybe next time. 

Posada Concepcion II

We arrived back in Posada Concepcion in time for happy hour. The tide was well,out so we weren’t going anywhere soon. One by one people pulled up a chair and gathered on the beach to visit. There are people from all over the world in this little community and many have been coming here for years. It seems with the combination of some residents getting on in age, health issues, and the yearly 5% increase of the lease fees there is a higher turnover than normal right now. Real estate values have plummeted as buyers are few and far between. The sun dropped behind the hills and the evening closed on us quickly. The breeze coming off the water put a chill into the air. Just like that the group dispersed and scurried back to the warmth of their homes. We lowered the wheels on the dingy and rolled it to the water. Thankfully there was enough water in the channel allowing us to row. No walking! Too many stingrays! 

As we headed back to Pellucidar we noticed a new sailboat had anchored in the bay. It looked familiar and as we got closer it was our friend Kim on Amazing Grace. We visited for a moment then headed for the warm cabin on the boat. We argreed to meet for breakfast the next morning. Kim’s dingy arrived as the sun began to erase the damp and cold from the previous evening. We visited over a breakfast of French toast and bacon. We discussed our plans for the next few days. Kim was heading back South to meet up with family and we would be heading North in a few days. He had some chores to do onboard he wanted to finish up so he headed back and we ran off to explore the next bay south, Playa el Burro. 

Playa el Burro

We started out in calm seas but the wind kicked up just as we rounded the point. As we were running with the wind it was so not too bad but as we approached the beach we noticed a good size surf breaking. We are not seasoned in surf landings but we were able to tuck in behind a small point and landed safely. Compared to the little community at Posada Concepcion this place was like a ghost town and the buildings were more like Palapas.

We wandered down the beach and the wind continued to build. We figured we would be here a while as our trip back would be into the waves and wind. We met Steve. He had driven up from Loreto to meet his friend but his friend had decided to go fishing and was nowhere around. We visited for a bit then continued down the beach. The wind was not letting up so we decided to stop by Pierre’s for lunch. (The sign on the building still says Bertha’s)

As we came in out of the sun and our eyes adjusted we saw Steve sitting at the bar.

We invited him to join us and continued our conversation. He and his wife had a place in Loreto and stay down here over the winter. A tad warmer than their home in Idaho. This seems to be a typical schedule for many that we’ve met along the way. Following lunch we surveyed the bay and decided it was about as good as it was going to get.

As we were pulling the dingy off the beach a group of about 10 motorcycles pulled up on the beach. These guys were all decked out in their leathers and were riding some very choice bikes. It became obvious they were trying to get our attention but their English was as bad as my Spanish. They were big ans scary so I stood behind Linda as we tried to figure out what they wanted. We pulled the dingy back to the beach where one of the riders spoke English and was able to intercede. This gentleman and his friends had ridden along way to spread his mother’s ashes in the bay. They had no plan other than just trusting that somehow it would work out. He asked if we would take him out into the bay so he could complete his task. It never dawned on me until later. The bay had been very rough all morning and the winds had not really backed off while we were at lunch. As we took this “very large biker” in our little dingy to spread his mother’s ashes, the bay calmed down and allowed us to fulfill his mother’s wishes safely.

As we dropped him back on shore there was not a dry eye in the group including us. He was so grateful and thanked us over and over. Many of the group came up and gave us hugs and we posed for pictures. It was very special for us to be used as an instrument in this fashion. His mother had lived a long life and passed peacefully at the age of 87. Hard to top a day like that!

The next day we hoisted anchor and set our compass North. We anchor is Punta Chivato and will introduce you to Sterling!

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Walt, Linda, G2 & Groot

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