Donkey Beach, Coyote Bay

We left Santa Rosalia on Tuesday, March 17, and had a great spinnaker sail down to Punta Chivato. The next morning we headed down into Bahia Concepcion, and again had a good sail, this time under main and jib.

Bahia Concepcion is a large bay on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez. Within Concepcion is another smaller bay called Bahia Coyote, and within Coyote are a number of beautiful, beach-lined coves. We had heard of cruisers spending weeks here, hopping from cove to cove, so we were excited to see if it measured up to the hype.

As we neared Bahia Coyote, we were joined by a number of large bottlenose dolphins. Though they didn’t surface much, we were thrilled to see their powerful, graceful movements as they rode our bow and wake.

We anchored between Playa Santispac and Posada Concepcion, and launched the dinghy to go ashore and search for some thermal hot springs. Unfortunately, our outboard motor wouldn’t start, despite Toro’s 9,374 attempts. (His forearm was sore for days, from yanking on the starter cord!) We were also unable to find the hot springs, so we were all a bit low that evening.

What a difference a day makes! The next morning, the outboard started up just fine, and Todd and Koiya took the dinghy out for a spin. Koiya’s driving skills came right back to her. They went ashore and found a fantastic book exchange, and I got lunch going in my solar cooker. It was so warm that we all looked forward to a swim.

Joy of joys! The water was cool but comfortable! Earlier in San Francisquito, though we enjoyed our swims, we’d come out of the water slightly numb. Now with this warmer water, our minds raced with thoughts of the possibilities.
Koiya: “More swimming means more Koiya bombs!”
Susan: “We can go snorkeling!”
Capn Cerveza: “Beer before swim, beer after swim!”

Indeed, the week we spent in Bahia Coyote was filled with swimming and snorkeling. On one excursion Koiya picked up some clams (she loved diving for them), which Todd cleaned, and I made into chowder.

But we didn’t completely forego land-based activities. When anchored off of Playa El Burro, we borrowed Atajo (pronounced “uh-tahoe”, Spanish for “shortcut”), a sweet dog off of our neighbor boat Gitana, for a hike up the steep hill behind the beach. On the way we saw petroglyphs, and Koiya had a great knack for discovering “bell rocks”, rocks with high iron content that ring like a bell when struck. We also met a delightful couple from Helena, Montana, who are camping and kayaking here.

We meant to move on to another cove that day, but after our hike we had a late breakfast at Bertha’s Restaurant and Toro discovered that a ballena (“whale”) of Pacifico is only 30 pesos (just over two dollars). Since a ballena is just shy of a liter, that is quite a deal! Toro then developed a “ballena dance”, while I developed a strong suspicion that we’d be staying longer than we’d planned.

Eventually, we moved back to our original location near Playa Santispac, where (with a little help from local cruiser Jack) we found the hot springs! There are several places where scalding hot water (about 160 degrees F) seeps out onto the beach. When the tide is high, the cool ocean water mixes with the hot fresh water and viola: a natural hot tub!

Though we were having a great time, we were anxious to head South to meet up with Theophilus, so that Koiya could have some kid time (and we could have some Captain Ron and Sherry time). So after a fun jaunt to Mulege to stock up on provisions, we bid farewell to our little paradise.

When thinking back on our favorite spots in Mexico, we’ve decided that a lot of what makes a place special is the time of year (weather and water conditions) and the company you’re with (our buddy boats). A couple months from now, Concepcion will be crowded with boats, it will be hot, and the water will be soupy. But right now, with the water getting warm and the beer still cold, I’d say that Bahia Concepcion is just about perfect! See all the pics here:

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