Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bahia San Juanico

We had a blast being part of the Baja Ha-Ha. I even got a Baja Ha-Ha tattoo! We made lots of friends, people we’ll stay in touch with. But we are more than ready to be “off on our own” again. We consulted our charts and chose Bahia San Juanico as our first stop on our northward journey. One of our “Charlie’s Charts” books told us that there would be no services and only the tiniest of villages, but we thought it would still be a nice spot to anchor overnight and perhaps explore the beaches. And it would be only ONE night spent at sea. That kind of schedule I can handle.

Sailing north along the Mexico (and California) coast is very different from sailing south. Instead of the wind at our backs, helping to push us along, now it’s coming toward us. We can’t sail directly into the wind so we have to tack back and forth, moving in a zig-zag pattern. It’s definitely slower going so I’m very glad we have extra time now for this part of our trip. We don’t feel rushed at all. It was about 26 hours from Bahia Santa Maria to Bahia San Juanico. We anchored at about 4 in the afternoon, a little too late to dinghy in and back before dark. But we could see a lot more buildings and houses than we had expected given what our book said. It was clear that there’d been a lot of development since that text was written. Below: Mirage at anchor in Bahia San Juanico – the only boat there!
In the morning we found out just how much more there is here than the book claimed. One of the first places we found as we walked along the cliffs that fronted the ocean was the Café Buena Vista. The prospect of real coffee was a draw, plus we could see people up on a second-story patio with a thatched roof (called a palapa), and we could hear English being spoken. After we’d found our way up we met Angela, who runs the little coffee bar, her husband, Jack, their son, Blase, and a number of other Americans. Jack and Angela bought their home and land about three years ago, and opened the coffee bar for a little extra income. They were a wealth of info for us and told us all about the town (population is 1000+ now), the influx of Americans buying land, and what kind of services we could get in the village. For one thing, propane!! For another, internet access (right there at the café)! We hadn’t brought either our propane bottle or my laptop when we rowed ashore so while I sat and enjoyed a café latte Mike rowed back to the boat to fetch both. What a great guy!
I got online and, although I didn’t have photos or text ready for a blog posting, I was able to send out a mass e-mail to as many people as I had in my address book, and who might be concerned at not having heard from us for over a week. After I’d done that, and skimmed through my e-mail (including one from our housesitters with two photos of the kitties which made me really homesick, but I loved seeing them!), Jack drove us in his pickup across town to get our propane bottle filled. This photo shows the gasoline guy in his little roadside store:
My dad will be interested to know that during our visit we saw a number of off-road race cars (the dune buggy variety) and motorcycles that were pre-running the course for the upcoming Baja race. My dad used to participate in those races and spent many a day in dusty towns like this one.
Over the next few days we explored the town from one end to the other. We ate lunch at Restaurant Las Glorias, shopped at several of the little corner markets, talked to whoever we ran across, visited the cemetery just outside of town, made friends with a gorgeous German Shepherd/Husky mix who accompanied us on a hot & dusty two-mile hike, and even got our laundry done. We found a small family-run “Same Day Laundry.” On one of our trips to shore in the dinghy we dragged along two net bags full of dirty laundry. The next morning we returned to pick it up and paid about $8.00. What a deal!

We liked San Juanico so much we stayed three nights. On our last evening we jumped off the boat for salt-water baths and a quick swim. Lovely!

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