Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bahia San Luis Gonzaga

[Kyle]We made it! Our most northerly anchorage in the Sea of Cortez

This remote bay is bordered by a small strip of sandy land occupied by Alfonsina’s Hotel & Restaurant and about 70 parcels of land occupied by a medley of vacation properties owned mainly by American snowbirds. All were built about 35 years ago after Alfonsina marked out the plots for each founding tenant. They rent the land, but own the houses. Each property was unique, some little more than a caravan or an RV, some beautiful stone properties, some just one or two rooms, some large villas and multi storied. All looked like a heavenly slice of life. All the properties function entirely off the grid, they make use of solar panels for electricity and to heat water, fresh water is delivered, etc. There is no cell phone signal and all internet is via satellite (just like life aboard Begonia, but they had WAY more solar panels, and functioning washing machines, etc.).

Bahia San Luis Gonzaga

The properties are loaded with toys – beach buggies, kayaks, etc, and many have humorous signs up (e.g. Caution: Roof sheds snow and ice)

There are two air strips. One of graded gravel, one of dirt, which regularly floods because it is below the high tide line.

We were so happy to be finally going ashore, it was no trouble to walk the two miles to the grocery store (on the nearest highway) for some onions. On the way, we passed one of the American residents, who was out in his driveway tinkering with a gyrocopter. Gyrocopters are a very unusual class of aircraft. They look kind of like helicopters, but instead of the main rotor being driven by the engine, it windmills freely in the airflow. This eliminates the need for a tail rotor, as there is no main rotor torque, but it also means that gyrocopters need a runway, since they can’t take off vertically. Forward propulsion is by propeller, like in an airplane. We chatted for a bit, but the owner was engrossed in fixing some sort of technical problem, so we left him to attend to the issue and continued on to the store.

Exploring beyond the sand strip, and inspecting the natives at play

On the walk back, we accepted a ride by a young Mexican woman (Alexandra) who was studying in San Diego and had come down to the hotel to share in a family get away. As we drove towards the property with the gyrocopter the engine was finally running and it was clearly about to take off, so we climbed out of the ride with thanks, and set to watching the takeoff and flight, which looked like a lot of fun, and drew quite a crowd.

Eventually, the flight was over an we walked on to the hotel at the end of the sand spit via the beach, stopping along the way to chat with a local artist, who had a beautiful home filled with color.

We procured a fine table at the restaurant with a great view of Begonia and had lunch. There were a few other patrons, most of whom seemed to not be residents, but drivers making a popular slight detour off the highway for a break in a long road trip.

We had enough time left in our busy day to return to Begonia for an afternoon swim and to get ready for the relatively long sail the following day. {Maryanne: Kyle went for a swim, still much too cold for me}.

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