The Right Place, not quite the Right Time

San Juanico is a large bay, lined with 5 beaches and picturesque rocky formations.

We had a good time there, despite a vicious swell that rolled inside the bay.

If there is one place we shall visit again some time soon, that’s San Juanico.

<This the fourth and last in a series of posts covering the 10 days-or-so we spent cruising the area between Puerto Escondido and Bahia Concepcion in Baja California. Click here to access the first post>

San Juanico is possibly one of the most beautiful places we have been to in the Sea of Cortez (so far). It is a large bay – almost 1 mile across – enclosing 5 different beaches, and a number of dramatic rocky formations.

As beautiful as it is, it is quite open to the SE. And there was a steady SE wind and swell going on during the days we visited. The wind was refreshing, but the swell made the anchorage uncomfortable, and limited the opportunity to explore the bay in its full splendor. That’s why we will definitely try to come back there with the right conditions (calm seas, and winds blowing from the N).

Having said that, this is not to say we didn’t have a good time there, mind you. To the contrary, as rolly as it was, we spent three nights in San Juanico, and I will let the pictures below tell the rest of the story.

Beautiful rocky formations just after arrival. Pesto is on the foreground:

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To the other side, these pinnacle rocks provide all the protection we had from the swell during our stay. S/V Coastal Drifter is on the foreground:

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On the first day, the swell was still tamed enough and we where able to land on the beach nearest to us, where a campfire was quickly organized by the kids:

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They love campfires, as Paulo’s gestures can clearly attest on this picture:

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Days went by, and the trademark Baja sunsets paraded one after the other:

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But as the days progressed, the swell also grew steadily. We rigged Pesto’s stabilizers, which added a great deal to our comfort (it significantly reduces Pesto’s rolling to the swell, especially when it hits us from the sides):

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On the last day, with the swell up to a meter and the winds blowing a steady 15 knots, we decided to cross the bay with our dinghies to explore the beaches at the northern end:

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That is probably the most picturesque part of the bay, with these steep pinnacle rocks:

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And this gorgeous table-like islet covered with cactuses and osprey nests:

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The beach there is shelly and rocky, tucked against steep sedimentary hills of the Giganta mountain range:

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Adriana played with the multicolored shells that cover the beach:

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While I got intrigued with this large piece of bone – mammal or fish?

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But the main attraction of this beach is the Cruisers’ Shrine. Over time, cruisers got used to placing mementos of their boats/crews/voyages under the only tree that thrives on that harsh environment:

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We spent a long time checking on the boats that left mementos there, some of which we had been long time followers of their blogs. Some people really go the extra mile creating elements that look nice and withstand the test of time:

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In our case, we left our country flag with our names on it:

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Coastal Drifter prepared a piece of rock, engraving their names and boat info, and then covering everything with glaze – very professional:

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Before leaving, we spent some time refreshing on the water, under the close supervision of the ospreys partially hidden in the rugged landscape behind us:

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The next day we raised anchors and took advantage of the good wind for a sail. The swell was still there though, and rolled our boats with gusto along the way (pictured here, s/v Coastal Drifter rolling to the swell. (Pesto wasn’t any different):

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We stopped at San Nicolas to spend the night and be a little closer to the entrance to Bahia Concepcion, where we would sail to the next day. The funny thing about our stop is that San Nicolas is a wide-open bay, almost a roadstead. But it has a small spit of land right at its SE corner which provided the exact type of protection we needed for the prevailing conditions. So, as open as it was, we had our first tranquil night of sleep in some time:

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When day broke, we raised anchors to cover the last leg for Bahia Concepcion. Ironically, after blowing steadily for the previous 5 days, creating lumpy conditions in San Juanico, the wind died away and the sea was glassy, and we thus motored for the 30-or-so miles.

Bahia Concepcion is a wonderful place, if not too warm, where we did what should be the last cruising of this chapter of our Baja California Sur “tour”. Watch out for updates here soon.

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