Whale Watching

Last Sunday, we arrived in the interesting town of Guerrero Negro where we checked into Malarrimo RV Park with full hook-ups, restaurant, and slow wifi.  Since crossing the border, we were mostly off the grid while doing some boondocking and very spotty internet connections, so it was a nice change to barely have technology access while staying in town.

This town was developed by an American who started the world’s largest salt works 60 years ago. There is a very large harbor that is called a lagoon. The salt company added open evaporative areas where sea water is pumped, and the water evaporates leaving behind the salt. It’s the largest open air, natural evaporative salt making facility in the world.

Guerrero Negro Salt Mine

We drove our car through the salt works pond areas that go on and on for miles. The salt reminded us of the look of a snow scene from our home state of Minnesota at this time of year. Our real reason for staying over in this town for a couple days was because we wanted to go whale watching. The RV Park that we stayed at also conveniently offered tours.

On Monday morning, we rode out to the lagoon pier to get into our panga (a wide, open boat, about 24’ long, with 4 benches). There were 8 passengers plus the driver making it roomy, comfortable, and stable. The weather was clear, warm, and calm making for a perfect whale watching morning.

Guerrero Negro Gray Whale 3

We rode out a couple miles to the mouth of the lagoon watching for blow hole mist spouts when we spotted our first signs of gray whales. The gray whales migrate to a few of these lagoons to mate and give birth to their calves. They don’t breech like humpback whales and they’re known for being friendly so no danger that way.

Guerrero Negro Gray Whale

Guerrero Negro Gray Whale 11

Looks like this whale is waving hello to us!

Guerrero Negro Gray Whale 10

Guerrero Negro Gray Whale 9

Guerrero Negro Gray Whale 7

This whale had a great time playing with a lobster cage buoyed near us!

 

Guerrero Negro Gray Whale 2

The panga drivers don’t chase them down once they’re spotted, just a slow, respectful approach in their direction. We were out on the water for a couple hours with a few other whale watching pangas enjoying the close encounters with the various individual whales. Towards the end of our expedition, we even spotted a mother and baby calf which is the ultimate goal and more difficult to accomplish in January with it being the start of the birthing season.

Guerrero Negro Gray Whale 6

It is definitely a bit intimidating when they swim under the boat and then pop out of the water for a spying look at us in the boat!

Guerrero Negro Gray Whale 8

Our driver provided a simple bag lunch out on the water and then it was time to return to shore. We cruised close to shore where it is all a giant sand dunes area looking very peaceful and remote. A bit of a turn out into the deeper water brought us past a couple large metal barrel type buoys where lots of sea lions leap on top to sun bathe. They were entertaining to watch even if they’re noisy and smelly.

Guerrero Negro Sea Lions

We came back to our RV Park to unwind and determine where our next stopping point would be for the next day. When we crossed the border, we didn’t bring a lot of food supplies with us not knowing if quantities would be import taxed or not. There were a couple mercados or grocery stores that we ventured into and they were completely different than what we’re used to in the U.S. We even found some of our favorite chocolate candy in the piñata store down the street.

Our neighboring camper had an axle that suffered the wrath of the pot holes on the highway as its tire area was sitting crooked next to us. We were glad to have missed such an incident and glad we were done with that highway section. The next day on Tuesday, we continue down the road for a couple hours to the town of San Ignacio and decided we would stay overnight at the Rice and Beans Oasis RV Park.

San Ignacio River

This is a small town inland in the middle of the peninsula and provided a day of quiet respite. San Ignacio is on a river with palm trees, so it was much different than all the desert landscaping we saw on the rest of the drive south. When we first arrived at this RV Park we ate lunch at its restaurant and indulged in our first fish tacos that Mexico is famous for.

San Ignacio Mission Outside

San Ignacio Mission Inside

After lunch, we went into town to see its mission and central plaza. It was all impressive wondering how such buildings are built 300 years ago. The RV Park had a swimming pool that called our return to break out our swimsuits in Mexico. It was nothing fancy, but still felt tropical yet quaint being able to park our motorhome next to it. It also wasn’t heated but still provided relief from the hot afternoon for hanging our feet into it over the edge.  It even had a PVC pipe overhead with holes drilled in it for the waterfall effect!

Rice and Beans RV Park San Ignacio Pool

On Wednesday, we were ready to get serious about making it to the ultimate destination of Bahia de Concepcion. It’s the 26-mile-long bay south of Mulege on the Sea of Cortez with many beaches available for camping. On our way we drove through the Volcano Park area where there is a volcano called Las Tres Virgines (The 3 Virgins). It’s a volcano with 3 cones on the top that was somewhat active 150 years ago with some vapor coming out of it, but it was all quiet as we passed by it.

Volcano 3 Virgins

Once we passed through this Park area, there is one last highway hurdle called the Cuesta del Infierno (Grade to Hell). When I saw that sign, I was panicked because it is the steepest grade along the entire Baja highway on the side of a mountain with a couple thousand feet over the old decrepit guardrail.  I couldn’t even dare to get a picture of it.

I read about it prior to arriving, but nothing prepares you for seeing and driving that section as it is a few miles of pure white-knuckle riding down the mountain side. I already had a couple nightmares since then about having to get up that mountain grade section with RAMBLE pulling our car up next to the guard rail and I will be the passenger looking over the edge. I may choose to hide in the back of the motorhome in a couple months when that time comes around. Thank goodness Mr. Ramble handled it all without being phased.

We passed through the towns of Santa Rosalia and Mulege and then 12 more miles down the road we arrived at paradise, Playa Santispac. It is a large open beach on a smaller Coyote Bay within Bahia de Concepcion. It is everything you could wish for with clear, shallow, calm water where we camped along the sand beach and it’s warmer here on Gulf. We filled our water and propane prior to arriving so we were ready to be self-contained in paradise while basically living in our swimsuits for the next week.

Playa Santispac long view

Do you have your own version of paradise?

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2 Comments

  1. Connie said:

    Yes. For now my paradise,eill come in a few months. Gardening! Enjoyed reading this. Fun!

    January 24, 2018
    Reply
    • Mrs. Ramble said:

      Definitely! Your gardens are beautiful!

      January 24, 2018
      Reply

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