Mulegé and More

Our time between the secluded bay of San Juanico and the little mining town of Santa Rosalia was just as it should be.  No unpleasant surprises, perfect temperatures, lots of animal sightings and good times with good friends.

A beautiful sunset we enjoyed while hosting our friends on Baloo

When last I shared an update, Banyan was sitting high in the water, light from lack of provisions.   We decided to head for the well known adventurous traveler town of Mulegé.  We had a lovely downwind wing-on-wing sail from San Juanico into Bahia Concepcion, a large bay on the inside of the Baja Peninsula.  We tucked in for the night in a little bay just at the mouth of the bay where we were overjoyed to see SV Paramita, friends from our time in Guaymas.

Banyan with her wing-on-wing sail configuration, with the main to port and the genoa to starboard. We can do this when the wind is coming from our stern.

One fun aspect of cruising is seeing who is pulling into the anchorage and who is in the anchorage you are pulling into.  The friends you make in this world seem to be quickly made and easily picked back up.  It isn’t unheard of for boats to meet once in Mexico then run into each other on the other side of the world and pick up like old friends.

The next day we sailed inside the bay to Playa Santispac to try to find a market.  From this point on we really started to notice how everything was starting to shut down.  The heat of summer was on its way and the snowbirds were starting to fly north.  That little bakery with the to-die-for cinnamon buns was closed for the season, the restaurant on the beach had an extremely irregular schedule.

We did manage (just barely) to get to Mulegé.  Our hitchhiking (very common in Mexico.. don’t freak out), was unsuccessful.  Who wouldn’t want to pick up a family of 4 with bags of laundry and a walking stick with a skull on top???  Sorry, I didn’t get a photo….  Thanks to our friends on Baloo, we caught a ride with a fellow cruiser to get laundry done and provision.

We hear Mulegé has changed quite a lot over the years.  I felt a bit cheated out of really seeing the town as most of the time we were there I took advantage of the cell service by sitting in the main square working on my phone and making calls….work work.. (I know you don’t feel badly for me).  It seems like a very cool town despite the changes and hurricanes that have blown through.  We were very excited to bump into our friends the Duvals (the van family from San Juanico) who serendipitously were driving through town while we were there and we managed to flag them down!  What fun to see them again in such a lucky way!

With the time ticking and an eye to the date we needed to be up in Canada for work, we scooted north, heading up to Punta Chivato, which had an amazing beach absolutely COVERED in shells, an abandoned resort hotel which we explored and the largest population of rays I have ever seen.  Seeing them carpet the ocean floor underneath us as we took a paddle early one morning around the kelp spotted point was a highlight of our time down there.

Racing Baloo on our motor in glassy water up to Punta Chivato. The other boat usually wins. Banyan is slow and steady and we like her that way:)
The kids of Banyan and Baloo during our exploration of the abandoned hotel

After a few days in Chivato, we went north again up to Isla San Marcos.  This island is a Gypsum mine.  It lacks beauty, but the anchorages were safe from some northerly winds that were blowing in and Sweet Pea Cove, on the north-western side, turned out to be fabulous snorkeling.

While in Sweet Pea Cove we had a panga (open Mexican fishing boat) come by and ask if we wanted to buy some lobster they had just caught. We deemed the price too high so they went to the other boats in the anchorage before coming back and offering them at a cheaper price. We had lobster for lunch three days in a row!


Adelaide and I practicing our back float in Sweet Pea cover, only minutes before a pod of dolphins swam through!

We probably could have hung out there for another week, but the clock was ticking.  We made our last stop in Santa Rosalia.  Santa Rosalia is a very cool town with a long history of mining.  We enjoyed exploring the little streets, finding hidden treasures and learning about its history.

Exploring the abandoned copper smelting plant. Gotta love Mexico that you can just walk straight in and rummage around in this potentially dangerous industrial site.

In order to get across the sea and also have a few days to secure Banyan before our work trip north, we had to get across to San Carlos.  We chose to leave early in the morning with the hope that we would arrive before sunset.  Because we knew we would have cross-seas (swell hitting us from the side) most of the time, we all took our vitamin B… aka Bonine (seasickness meds) the night before.  All, except Isa, who refused because “It tastes terrible!”.  Crossing day dawned early and we took off before the girls were awake.  It was an easy crossing for everyone.. except poor Isa, who threw up a record 12 times on the way.  We are hopeful that this was an educational experience for her, but this remains to be seen.

We celebrated Adelaide’s birthday with boat friends in San Carlos with an overstuffed piñata, cake and thoughtful gifts from friends as well as a swim at the beach club pool.

So, on that note!   Once Banyan was settled in, at Marina San Carlos, (a mere two berths away from our friends on Baloo!) we were off on the plane for the next leg of our adventure which included a little work and a little play.

We started playing cribbage in this leg which has been really fun. Isa usually smokes everyone.


To fulfill a request from my friend Susanne, I am including a little bit of my artwork in each post at the end (if I have anything worthy of sharing). This is a watercolor (using those awesome watercolor pencils!) of Adelaide that I did while we were around Santispac.


  1. Jane Middlekauff says:

    Most beautiful sunset photo I have ever seen. The portrait looks like Barbara Sell Vawter in high school days (mid 60’s). Thank you for sharing.

    • Cameron Vawter says:

      Thank you Jane! I agree from the pictures that I’ve seen. That is so cool that you made that connection.

  2. Fred Blue says:

    As always, we enjoy traveling w/you and getting the guided tour. How enriched are the girl’s lives (and yours) at such an early age. Safe travels to Canada! <3 and prayers to you. A Janis & U Fred

    • Cameron Vawter says:

      Thanks for following along! We were watching some great video of you guys with us in Australia in the 80’s. I hope Brad has shared those with you. That was really traveling with us!

  3. John Livingston says:

    Do you guys know Julie Spencer who is Executive Director at Rianda House? She gave a talk there this week about her 6 year long sailing trip around the world in the 90’s. She and here friend did it in a 40 foot sloop. Lots of time in the south Pacific with wrecks etc. Avid scubas divers. Anyhow she will be following your blog after I sent her the link. Very nice gal. When is “westward Ho” for you all? Have fun with the canucks….

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi John,
      I have had several people ask if we know her, and I don’t think that we have crossed paths as of yet. We have to try and connect with her as she sounds like a fascinating person with similar interests. Many Thanks for passing on the blog. It is fun to know that others are enjoying it.

    • Cameron Vawter says:

      Hey John! Please give a big hug to Diane and the boys! We don’t know Julie but I think a dear friend of ours works with her at the Rianda House so we’ll have to get an introduction. So much has changed since the 90’s, some things for better and some for worse. It’s great to have the connectivity and the enhanced safety tools like EPIRB’s and Sat phones but in some ways it would have been awesome to see these places 25 years ago! Thanks for keeping in touch!

    • Cameron Vawter says:

      We are heading your way! We will be back in B.C. in early September and look forward to catching up and hearing more about your trip to Africa! Thanks for all the prayers, we all need them!

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