Friday, July 25, 2014

In Bahia Concepcion

La Volante at anchor in Bahia Concepcion

One of our goals in spending a second season in the Sea of Cortez was to see some of the places we missed the first time. I don't remember why we passed by Bahia Concepcion last year, but this time we spent 6 days in four different anchorages and loved it all.

Playa Santispac
The most common complaint I've heard (the only complaint) about Bahia Concepcion is that it's unbearably hot. In fact, we met a few people headed south on our way north who said that they wanted to stay in Concepcion longer but just couldn't handle the heat. Maybe we got a lucky weather window or maybe we are adapting, but we didn't find it any worse than the other places we have visited this summer. Temperatures everywhere seem to hover in the upper 90s with 3 digit days now and then and always high humidity. The difference I noticed in Bahia Concepcion is that the water is too warm for a refreshing swim, 85-87 degrees just doesn't do much to cool me off.
There are several good anchorages but don't expect much in the way of services. There are a few beachside palapa restaurants with good food, beer and strong margaritas (beware), a couple of small tiendas for limited supplies and not much else. Power is by generator and the Mulege cell tower's signal doesn't reach into the Bay. But the beaches are gorgeous, the snorkeling is awesome, the people are friendly, and the lifestyle is so laid-back and mellow that you almost feel like you are just melting into blissfulness and never want to wake from it.
Underwater rock shelves with thousands of fish and crystal clear water perfect for snorkeling

And then, out of nowhere, comes a Chubasco to shake you back to attention. A Chubasco is a thunder and lightning storm with strong winds that happens in the middle of the night. If you look up Chubasco on the internet you see words like: severe, unpredictable, and violent. I spent a good part of last summer worrying about getting caught in a Chubasco but the reality was not that terrible. We were in a small, protected anchorage with a good-holding sand bottom and although the winds were 43 knots and the water was choppy enough to slam the boat around, our anchor held and the storm only lasted about 2 hours. That's one good thing about a Chubasco, they don't last very long. It was quite an experience and, although we did stay awake in the cockpit keeping an eye on the situation, it wasn't really scary. Fortunately they happen at night when most boats are safely anchored. I wouldn't want to be caught out at sea during one but more because of the lightening than the wind or waves.

Every little cove and island in Bahia Concepcion is worth exploration but our favorite was Playa Buenaventura where Mark, Olivia and Nathan will offer you the warmest welcome and the friendliest atmosphere you could possibly hope for.
Mark and Olivia's Playa Buenaventura

One of Nathan's tasty margaritas, this one made with fresh-picked cactus fruit
Nathan is a margarita mixologist extraordinaire!

With a gorgeous sandy beach for swimming, good food and drink, wi-fi, a pool table, and television, in a well-protected anchorage right on Hwy 1 where you can easily hitch a ride into Mulege for supplies, Playa Buenaventura is an ideal spot for criusers.

We would happily have stayed in Bahia Concepcion for several more days but a non-functioning water maker and dwindling water supplies necessitated moving on to a marina in Santa Rosalia.

But first, the Fourth of July cruisers' potluck in El Burro Cove, sponsored by Gary who provides grilled hot dogs and fireworks. An expat who lives on the cove, Gary is famous not only for this annual "come one, come all" celebration but he is also the weather guru we all depend on for our morning forecast on the ham radio net.

So, this is how cruisers party:

Friends, Swimming, Beer

Wherever Gringos gather, the locals will come to sell us things

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