A jewel of the Sea of Cortez – San Francisquito

We really enjoyed San Francisquito. I mean really what isn’t to enjoy? Great fishing, check! Great snorkeling, check! Good hiking, check! Dolphins, check!

Anchorage slot at San Francisquito

There is a narrow slot in the bay of San Francisquito, which is a perfect place to wait out strong winds. Lucky for us the weather was calm since the slot was packed with three boats. We choose a nice spot along the beach and after a bit of organizing jumped in the dinghy for a hike to the nearby airstrip.

Southern end of the beach

As we approached the dinghy landing we were surprised to see hundreds of small sting rays. Seeing so many close together reminded us to always shuffle our feet to avoid a painful sting.

Following the dirt road for a mile or so we reached a formerly popular dry lake bed airstrip. Remnants of a one time heyday here remain (fuel pumps, large airport name spelled out on the ground, dilapidated shuttered resorts), sadly those days are passed. I would say the runway was unusable due to deep ruts and large rocks but the Piper Arrow tied down on the south end proves me wrong.

How did this Arrow possibly land here without losing a wheel?

We walked the length of the quiet beach, looking at the shells of vacation homes and a few resorts. Cutting the corner back to the airstrip the sound of Mexican music made us realize that a few brave souls do still live here. Now the race was on, would we get to the dinghy before the sun set? Guess turning on the anchor light before we left would have been a good idea…

Cactus on the hike back to the dinghy

Reaching the dinghy landing there are some adventurous souls cleaning up their kayaks and fishing equipment. They are working their way along the sea stopping for fishing as they move south. This bay had been good to them with lots of action from many different species of fish, would we be so lucky? Most impressive was one of the guys was in a wheelchair. Did I mention the soft sand that was everywhere? What about the logistics of getting here? Blew us away that he was out here doing what he loved in spite of his challenges. Very inspiring.

Back on the boat there was a flurry of fish action on the surface. I figured what the heck, I’ll throw the lure out a couple times. Almost instantly I had hooked a barracuda. I called to Vicki to grab the fish bucket and before she arrived had a second fish. Score, dinner plans have now changed!

Sunset view for cleaning fish

The shallow waters of the dinghy landing required the use of the dinghy oars, problem was one of the oar mounts broke in the process. Blerg. The next morning I started tackling the project, by MacGyver’ing a temporary fix using a piece of PVC piping and epoxy. My Dremel saved that day because a lot of grinding was necessary to make the final part fit. Overall I was pretty pleased with the appearance and function.

Dinghy oar mount repair

Breakfast visitors

We jumped in the dinghy to go around the point for some snorkeling. After securing the dinghy to a rock we slipped into the water finding big boulders, large groupers and parrotfish, along with many smaller guys. In one of the little coves the bottom was filled with small stingrays. Literally their wings were touching. After a good forty minutes Vicki and I regroup and I was sad to hear that the mount on her GoPro failed and she lost her camera. We headed back to the dinghy to see if by some miracle it could be located. It was a challenge keeping the dinghy safe yet getting close enough to see a small floating object. Vicki decided to jump back in the water to continue the search while I headed back to the boat for fishing gear.

Returning I could see she was still searching so I began fishing. A few minutes later, fish on! I double back to grab Vicki and was shocked to see her and her GoPro. What are the chances. Another half hour brought us six fish and one less lure. Duh. Lesson learned, do not let the fish run for the rocks or else you lose your $15 lure.

After another pescado dinner it was off to bed as we would be getting up earlier for the 80 mile passage to Santa Rosalia.

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