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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Baja Reef Conservation Catches On in 2018
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
SNOOKZILLA?


I’ve got a craving
After a great New Year’s Eve celebration with friends in Borrego Springs, Calif., we awoke to a light dusting of snow on the mountains on New Year’s Day 2019 as we drove up the Montezuma Valley Road, about 18 miles towards Ranchita; there was even enough to have left spots of black ice and snow covering the roads and landscape.

As I drove through the snowy mountains, I reflected on another New Year’s Day 34 years ago, when Yvonne and I were driving down the mountain from a skiing trip to Deer Valley to catch our flight back to Southern California.


At the bottom of the hill in a blustery snowstorm, Yvonne asked me why I was so quiet? “You didn’t notice,” I replied, “I haven’t had a cigarette since last night.”


about18miles
ABOUT 18 MILES towards Ranchita, there was even enough to have left spots of black ice and snow covering the roads and landscape.


Climbing out of the car, I headed into a 7/11 in search of something to stem the craving and came out with a tin of Altoids — “curiously strong mints” — along with Stim-u-dent balsa wood toothpicks. Both were a godsend that changed my life forever and with their help, I never smoked another cigarette. A very strong deterrent was probably the fact that my dad, a heavy smoker, had died a few months before of lung cancer following the deaths of all his four brothers of the same disease.


My thoughts then turned to the cold weather which fueled my craving to return to Baja. I found myself remembering some of my favorite Baja places in the mid-section of Baja that because they are off the beaten track, I have missed seeing over the past few years.


That section still offers glimpses of the “Old Baja.” The Vizcaino Peninsula Biosphere from Turtle Bay on the West Coast all the way down to San Ignacio Lagoon is still one of my favorite areas.


Offering several villages to explore, Bahia Tortuga, (Turtle Bay), Bahía Asunción, La Bocana, and Abreojos, all dot the Biosphere coastline overlooking the Pacific Ocean and all are accessible by paved roads.


The friendly village of Bahía Asunción is located on point with a long sandy beach extending in both directions and is fantastic for swimming, surfing, beach sports, excellent panga fishing, and off-the-rocks surf casting. It is approximately 60 miles from Vizcaino on Mex 1 — paved road — on the west coast of the mid-Baja Peninsula in the heart of the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve (the largest reserve in all Latin America).


There are around 3,000 residents who depend on the two fishing cooperatives that harvest abalone, lobster, clam, giant sea snail, shark and many other species.


The town offers accommodations, a campground, a gas station, a hospital, a clinic, grocery stores with fresh produce, meat, dry goods and ice, an internet cafe, hardware stores, pharmacies, tire shops, mechanics, welders, restaurants, tackle shop and cell service. It is also a popular, safe anchorage for visiting cruising yachts and residents are eager to try out their English and welcome you to their village.


La Bufadora Inn is a popular spot operated by Canadian Shari Bondy, a teacher and whale researcher who has lived in the area more than several decades with her husband Juan Arce, a local abalone fisherman/musician who built La Bufadora Inn. Juan charters his super panga to sport fishermen and he also offers Island nature tours.


Currently, the yellowtail are full speed and should continue through February.


Asunción Island, which is in sight of their Inn, is home to a vast list of sea life that you can see and often hear, as well as watch the pangas coming and going throughout the day.


This pet-friendly Inn offers rooms with private patios and unique interiors that take full advantage of the spectacular views. In addition, they offer Wi-Fi, kitchenettes, gardens, kayaks (for guests use only) and food services on request.


currenltytheyellowtailCURRENTLY, THE YELLOWTAIL are full speed and should continue through February. If you are looking for a touch of the authentic Baja feel, this is a good place to find it.


For a side trip, while driving down Mex 1 to La Bufadora, six miles north up the deserted beach is San Roque, a small fish camp complete with an old mission to explore.


http://www.bahiaasuncion.com/php/


Another 20 miles below Vizcaino is a turnoff to Punta Abreojos, another gateway to the Pacific Coast. Driving approximately 50 miles off Mex 1, you’ll find there are several options for fishing offshore, as well as several esteros to explore.


Run by the local fishing co-op, which is located ten miles north of Abreojos at La Bocana, it has eight beachfront cabins with private bathrooms and satellite TV and is located right on the beach, making it easy to take advantage of afternoon walks or to watch the sun as it sinks into the Pacific.


The offshore sportfishing trips are great for grouper, yellowtail, wahoo and yellowfin tuna; inshore, the calico bass fishing is outstanding, while in the estero, it’s all release for grouper, pargo, halibut and snook.


La Bocana offers a full bar with premium drinks, a full-service restaurant with cooks who will prepare your freshly-caught fish for dinner — which often includes fresh-caught lobster, abalone and oysters when in season.


In addition to the sportfishing, hiking, bird watching, kayaking, guided mountain bike tours are available. There is also a campground.


Orchid Martinez-Guevara is the official U.S. representative for La Bocana Adventures. She offers turn-key packages to La Bocana from San Diego. You can reach her at (619) 483-7315 or email her at orchid@bajafishingconvoys.com .


There is also the Baja Bocana Hotelito, a B&B that sits right on the beach and is operated by my friends Blanca Portella and Les Heil, who can be contacted at (605) 107-2400 or (619) 942-3677, or www.labocanahotel.com.


A few miles south of Punta Abreojos is another estero option, Campo Rene, (Estero Coyote). Perched on the edge of the estuary and the Pacific Ocean, Campo Rene is a must visit even if you are not interested in staying there.


Unfortunately, there is little info online currently. The following is a link to an earlier Road Trekker story.


http://roadtrekker.blogspot.com/2008/09/


If you are planning a Baja road trip, don’t get caught up in an impulse to drive straight through to your destination. Allow yourself time to explore a few of the remote areas that are still uncluttered with tourist “stuff” along the way.


* * *

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Reader Comments
Always enjoy your article's, Barb and I are still here in Mulege on the river. You are always welcome
ralph lane
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