Thursday, May 22, 2014

Puerto Escondido and San Juanico

I wrote this post on 4/21/14. The day after I wrote it we left for San Juanico/San Basilio where we stayed for almost a month.

Puerto Escondido isn’t what it used to be.
Puerto Escondido
It is so sad. Puerto Escondido is one of the most beautiful and protected anchorages in Baja.  The first year we were here it was a going concern.  There were tons of boats in the anchorage (200 were here for Loreto Fest 2011). Pedro’s restaurant was great and his store had almost anything you could need and if he didn’t have it Fernando’s store (about half of a mile up the road) might have it. The moorings were about  eight dollars a night and Fonatur (the government agency that runs the marinas) maintained them,  there was a water taxi a few times a day, the showers worked and had hot water, there was TP in the bathrooms.  It was a gathering place and people stayed awhile.  We hauled out in the nice cement boat yard here the first summer we went home. We really liked it and it was a reasonable price.

Fonatur has been trying to sell the marina for several years and by 2012 all the prices had almost doubled and they weren’t maintaining the moorings. Needless to say, fewer and fewer boats were coming here and not many boats hauled out here – it was too expensive.
Sunrise in Puerto Escondido

Sunrise in Puerto Escondido
By 2013 it was questionable whether they had fuel. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t.  (We ended up getting it out of barrels in the back of a pick-up truck) The showers no longer had hot water and some didn’t work, there was no TP in the bathrooms, and they started charging for water even if you were paying for moorage which had doubled from 2011.

This year it’s like a ghost town.  There were about five boats in the bay. Luckily we did get to see Pedro – he was clearing out his store. He said he would come back when the marina was sold (he hopes in January).  There are NO businesses left in the marina buildings.  The only thing operating is the gas dock and apparently they have a steady supply of both diesel and gas. That’s really the only reason to come here anymore.

We’re hoping for the best – that someone will buy and maintain it without turning it into another Cabo. We shall see………..

We anchored out in PE and delivered our laundry to Elvin, the manager of the boat yard (his neighbor in Juncalito does laundry), had a nice visit with Pedro, and walked up to Fernando’s store at Tripui. The rest of the afternoon was spent waiting for our turn at the fuel/water dock (there’s only two slips). By the time we got fuel and water it was 4:30 and we decided to just stay in PE overnight.

From PE we went to Juncalito, picked up our laundry, had a nice visit with Connie (Elvin’s wife), and spent a very pleasant, quiet night at anchor.

Leaving PE going north towards Juncalito
Looking through one of the "windows" into PE
Heading into Juncalito
The next morning we headed for Isla Coronados with a stop in Loreto for lunch and a little provisioning. Unfortunately there was not much fresh produce available so we’ve had to ration and get into our canned food. We also ran out of  wine!

Next stop: San Juanico/San Basilio – our favorite Baja anchorage. We stayed for almost a month. The pictures tell the story……………

One thing we did on a regular basis was to hike over the hill to La Ramada, the bay north of San Juanico, where we would go for a swim and then hike back:
First we burn our burnables

Then we hike up this hill

Up to the top

Then down the other side

and go for a dip
One of the owners of the land surrounding Caleta San Juanico told us about some cave paintings (pictographs) so we tried to find them.....................
Unsuccessful on the first try, but the view was good......
On our next try we were successful.
Hammerhead Shark
Dolphin and Fish
Last summer there were heavy rains and the water rushing
 down this arroyo opened up the mouth of this lagoon-
a great place to paddle the kayaks.
Entrance to the lagoon at low tide

Paddling up the lagoon

Leaving the Lagoon at high tide

There are also a lot of beaches to explore - this one is at the southeast point.
While we were in San Juanico there was a "Shipwreck" party put on by local (Loreto) gringos. It's a three or four day affair. They come by car (4wheel drive) and fishing boats and camp on the beach. The first evening there was a potluck up at the house and the second evening there was a potluck on the beach. They invited the cruising boats that were anchored here to join them and it was really fun.
This is the house 

View of the bay from the house
Looking at Loomba-Loomba from the house

We were here by ourselves and then all the party-goers
started arriving - soon we were surrounded
Potluck on the beach
We also hiked up the road to a new goat farm.
Two mules were grazing by the side of the road.

Two month old goats
Four day old goat
This is where the goat tender lives
Add fishing and snorkeling to hiking, kayaking, 
beachcombing, potlucks, and happy hours and the weeks fly by.

Being anchored in the same place for almost a month 
we were able to see many of our friends who passed through
 on their way north up to Santa Rosalia 
or their way back south to La Paz.

We are now in Candeleros (just south of Puerto Escondido) 
anchored in front of  the hotel where we can get wifi on the boat.
We stopped in Loreto to re-provision and PE to get fuel and water.
From here we will work our way south on the Baja coast
 and then cross over to Mazatlan when there is
 a good weather window - sometime in the next two weeks.