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Our forays into Civilization (March 2018)


Pretty street in Loreto waterfront Pretty building in Loreto Colourful pottery in Loreto

We often avoid populated areas while cruising but clearly they are useful and even fun to visit. Loreto is a lovely town with historic buildings and shops full of colourful Mexican handicrafts. The town has the feel of quaint friendly touristy rather than the harsh commercialism and towering buildings that are in places like Cancún.

If arriving by boat, Loreto is best visited on a calm day. The unprotected anchorage makes us a bit nervous and discourages lengthy lingering. However, this time we found a spot for lunch that had a perfect view of our boat, and the weather cooperatively held while we enjoyed the great food. The restuarant had bright table cloths, a floor of pea-gravel, and an interesting clean up crew. While waiting for our delicious mole-drenched lunch to arrive, Bjarne jogged over to pick up our laundry we had dropped off at a small shop several hours earlier.

Two birds perched on a table, cleaning up after lunch in Loreto

Table for two - the cleanup crew

Mole-drenched delicious lunch in Loreto
Whaleshark sculpture on Loreto waterfront

With full tummies, souvenirs, fresh provisions, and clean laundry in hand, we bid farewell to Loreto and their whale shark (we're still hoping to see a real one).

Bahia Concepción

North of Loreto by about 60 miles is Bahia Concepción, a 25 mile long bay containing smaller bay appendages within. In these, varying degrees and types of habitation line the beaches and each cove has a different assortment of tents, RVs, palapas, and houses. The fanciness and quantity of abodes seems approximately proportional to proximity to Highway 1, which parallels the coast for a fair distance. A few coves harbour restuarants and Playa Coyote has a small store. Many cruisers hitchhike into Mulegé (12 miles north) for access to a better assortment of supplies but, as we had topped up in Loreto, we found this tienda met our needs/wants for a few fresh things and inexpensive Mexican rum. The sound of airbrakes periodically shatters the peace as transport trucks navigate the hills of Highyway 1. There is no cellphone coverage in these areas, but we accessed WiFi now and again at Ana's restaurant on Playa Santispac.

Playa Santispac

This beach boasts the largest anchorage and longest stretch of sand, and gets quite crowded at holiday times (more on this in the Semana Santos section below). The banner photo at the top of this page is of this beach.

During the season when RVers and cruisers are prevalent, we've been told a routine emerges at Playa Santispac, with glow-in-the-dark bocci ball on Thursdays, 2-for-1 margaritas on Tuesdays, and the popular fruits-and-vegetables truck on Fridays. We arrived around the tail end of this season so there wasn't enough business for the veggie truck to show, and we did not seek out the beach games, but as you may guess, we did partake of the Happy Hour margarita special, seeing it as a cultural experience. Actually, most of the people there were gringos but we did enjoy the local band.

Posada Concepción

Laneway in Posada Concepcion looking toward water

In Posada Concepción most of the area is filled by a private retirement community with a very high gringo count. We strolled the beach and found the two hot springs. One is private with a nice stone wall, and one is out in the tidal flat and marked with stones. This spring burbled up in a hole just big enough to stick two feet into. Where the beach ended, a path took one through some mangroves. It was pretty except for the garbage strewn about. While we wandered, someone had set up a massage table on the beach. We didn't partake, figuring it might rub us the wrong way.

Bjarne in mangrove with Posada Concepcion in background
Red flowers growing against a wall in Posada Concepcion

We wandered around the tiny "town" admiring the tidy streets, tennis court and quaint decorations. There was at least one resident from BC judging by the familiar BCAA-sponsored "Slow Down - Kids Playing" sign. According to the community bulletin board we were in time for the yoga class at the palapa but decided that going would be a stretch. Instead we patronized the local restuarant, which provided good Mexican food at gringo prices and tropical speed. When we asked about purchasing oranges, as we were leaving, our friendly young cook/server/cashier very kindly gave us a handful.

Barb on beach beside one of the two warmsprings in Posada Concepcion

Barb on beach, beside one of the two warmsprings

small laneway in Posada Concepcion

Kids-Playing sign, imported from BC

Mosaic of palm tree created in rock on wall of house in Posada Concepcion

Semana Santos

Tents lining the beach at Playa Santispac

The other half of the beach is equally crowded!

The population on the beaches of Bahia Concepción (and elsewhere, we hear) changes dramatically during Semana Santos (Week of the Saints), the week leading up to Easter. We anchor off the most populated beach (Playa Santispac) for two reasons - mainly it has the best protection from the expected strong winds, but also there is some curiousity about the festivities for this week. Many Mexican families flock to the beaches for camping and water sports. Tents are tightly packed. The noise level rises drastically and includes excited squeals of kids in water, lively music, loud dune buggies, and water crafts zipping around. While we don't begrudge the fun they are having, the jet skiis circling repeatedly and unnecessarily close to our boat are rather aggravating and certainly discourage swimming. It might explain why there are fewer cruisers in the bay, or perhaps many have simply started heading for home at the approach of tax time. We become very familiar with the jaunty tune of the ice cream truck that slowly cruises the strand. At night the small midway revs up with loud music, colourful lights and screams from upside-down people.

Fellow on Jetski bombing around anchorage

Midway and beach fires light up the night

Gentle moonlight provides good visibility on the evening we paddle into shore, but our night vision takes a hit from the the midway lights. We make our way through the tents to the fair, squinting until our eyes adapt. It doesn't take long to scope out the 11 rides and 4 games but it provides some entertainment. We are especially amused by a toddler trying, unsuccessfully, to join in the game of spraying aerosol foam at people. His sweeping arm movements copy that of his older siblings but he hasn't yet figured out about the button on top of the can. He seems perplexed that nothing is squirting out. Happily (though not healthily) we are able to get our favourite Mexican fast food - tosti elotes and churros (first tried at Carnaval in La Paz. Recipe here). We munch on our warm deep fried treat and wander along the beach past many families sitting around campfires. We hear lots of conversation, recorded music and laughter but we don't notice campfire songs. Back on the boat, the music from shore becomes background noise and does not interfere with our sleep.

Patrick, from SpongeBob, riding a train at the fair

After 24 hours of excitement, we start feeling like Patrick looks

Lighter winds allow us to relocate the next day to El Burro Cove. If there had been any hope that it was quieter here, it is drowned out quickly by beach parties and motorized craft. Later, folks on shore who were watching while we anchored offer us amused sympathy about the lack of mercy on the part of the jet skiiers. We're always happy to provide entertainment for the locals.

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