We have spent the past month in San Juanico in this ruggedly beautiful area of the Baja Peninsula. San Juanico has two main anchorages; the southern anchorage where we have spent most of our time and the northern anchorage where we have sheltered from the northerlies for a few days.
The kids have spent their mornings doing schoolwork and lazed away the afternoons playing onshore, swimming, wandering the beach, playing board games on different boats, and even enjoyed a few movie nights.
Tristan and Andrew have spent a few hours a day fishing and supplying the fleet with parrotfish, coral trout, and snapper. Tristan is, of course, professing to be ‘kind of an expert’ at fishing.
The Last of Quarantining
The last of our two week period of quarantining was spent at San Juanico. We did the occasional walk on the beach and met our friends from Love and Luck and Arena a few times on the beach with families maintaining a couple of meters between each other.
Chatting while social distancing.
The kids were amazing throughout it. I must admit to trying to get a photo of the kids and telling them to get closer together and no one moved and then I was politely reminded that we were social distancing, they just laughed at the idiot mother.
But mum we can’t get any closer, we are not allowed, remember?
Our quarantine finally ended on Sunday the 19th of April and the kids were so excited for quarantine to end they had organized a breakfast get together on Utopia. The kids shared muffins, fried potatoes, and cinnamon rolls, I believe there were music and dancing. The adults went to Love and Luck and enjoyed the freedom of being able to talk in close proximity over breakfast and coffee. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos.
Ridge Hike 1.
The cruising Sea of Cortez guide has a ‘Ridge Walk’ on one of its maps for the area which Jamie, Stephanie, Julie, Mark, Andrew and I decided we would do. We met at the beach in front of the Rancho Santa Ana, which was the designated spot to kick off our hike.
We followed the trail uphill to a viewpoint overlooking the southern bay where we stopped to admire the view and catch our breaths. We continued along the path beside the mangroves, through a dry riverbed and fenced ranch land and up a steep hill to a lovely view over both anchorages. The path continued further but as the kids were wanting a dinghy pickup, we decided the rest of the path would have to wait for another day. The hiking path is shown in purple on the map at the bottom.
So the person puffing the most after the uphill climb is the one behind the camera, yep me, so much so that I had to straighten the photo.
Our path took us past mangroves on the left and stunning desert mountains on the right
View of the southern anchorage on the left and part of the northern anchorage on the right.
When the northerlies were forecasted, we motored to the northern anchorage near Punta San Basillo which offered more protection. The northern anchorage is dotted with pretty pinnacles and rocky islets, some of which have cacti growing on them. There is a small farm store that you can buy vegetables from, but the fear of contracting the coronavirus and no medical care available led us to not go there. I fear tinned vegetables ahead.
There are a few trails that meander around the bay, dotted with cactus and colored sandstone cliffs. The beaches in the northern end even have horses that come down to the beach just before sunset and the odd turkey vulture atop the cacti scanning for prey. The kids did some swimming but are still finding the water a bit cool, although the daily temperatures are already increasing in just the last few days, we are dreading summer.
Ridge Walk 2.
We decided to hike the ridge trail again and continue from where we stopped last time. This trip we were joined by Max and Lucy.
We did the hike at a faster pace reaching the point where we stopped last time and deciding to continue the trek to the top.
Reaching the top on the left and a view of the southern anchorage on the right.
An amazing view of the northern anchorage.
From the top, we could see a winding track that led down to a beach, one further north of where we had landed our dinghies. The path is obviously the correct ‘Ridge-Line’ track that we had been looking for. While we didn’t complete the ridge walk, we did take the path down to the beach as an alternative way back. The beach track is dotted with towering cacti of different weird and wacky shapes and the beach offered a good spot to relax and chat before the return trip.
Some of the many cacti marking the landscape.
We walked along the beach and then headed back inland beside the small mangrove area and to the original path that took us to our dinghies. It looks like we will have to try the Ridge Line walk now that we know where the path is another day.
The final leg of our hike passed the mangroves to return to our original path and reach our dinghy.
Once the northerlies had died down, we relocated back to the southern anchorage as there are no locals and fewer boats. After Mark, Tristan and Andrew had a successful fishing trip, they decided to have a BBQ on the beach and a campfire. Before sunset, the 6 adults and 10 kids/teens headed to shore for fish and potluck sides.
The kids excitedly collected firewood for the campfire and played games on the beach, with Willie (the dog) occasionally running by.
The adults enjoyed a few drinks and catching up while the fish cooked, before sitting down to eat.
As the tide crept higher and higher, we shifted closer to the sand cliffs before the water eventually doused our fire and sent us all scurrying with our belongings to our dinghies and fleeing back to our boats. The kid had hoped for marshmallows, maybe another time.
Ridge Hike 3. (8/5/2020)
I spent yesterday bored, restless, and unmotivated, and under normal circumstances, we would move someplace new. In the evening I decided I would do the ridge walk on my own the following morning.
Andrew dropped me off at the correct beach for the walk and I took a different rack uphill. While it looked like a trail, I think it was probably a goat track, it did lead to the top of a cliff, but it didn’t join the ridge track, so I had to return to the beginning.
The trail entrance is dotted with cactus and winds uphill on a path littered with scree, so a little slippery. Luckily there was a bit of cloud cover on and off which made the heat bearable and the best part, there were no snakes.
Along the ridge, there are various points that offer spectacular views over the northern and southern anchorages and sometimes both, as well as views over the odd house, ranch, dirt road, or the mountain range along the Baja Peninsula. While I only saw one lizard, the path is used by horses and I think goats as there were an occasional lot of droppings.
I finally reached the rocky shore of one of the beaches in the northern anchorage, having completed the ridge trail and feeling a sense of accomplishment that I had done it on my own. I guess the third time is the charm, having tried twice before and not finding the correct path. The hiking track is shown in green on the map.
Ridge Hike 4. (10/5/2020)
Our kids asked what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, they may have been a little horrified when I said I wanted to go on a hike with my family. Max made some lovely cinnamon buns for lunch and after we recovered from our sugar coma, we met Love and Luck at the beach for our Mother’s Day hike.
Sally takes the lead
As the best hike in the area is the Ridge Hike and the kids had yet to experience it, we decided to go there, or rather I decided we should go there. We trudged uphill and while I led momentarily it quickly became apparent that I needed to let the teens overtake me. We stopped to admire the views and take some family shots, well it was mothers day, you have to make the most of the kids wanting to make you happy.
Mum’s with their kids
The path down is quite unstable due to the loose rubble, so I was a bit slower going down, but at least everyone remained upright.
The downhill track.
After the last two days in Loreto, we will leave in the morning to head back to San Juanico hoping the lockdown will end soon. At least we go back topped up with fresh vegetables and supplies thanks to Elana’s shopping service and the kids have sent in all their school.
Map of some of the hikes we have done: