Camping on the Bay of Conception
Camping on the Bay of Conception
Note: This article was written in 2003. Since then prices have gone up and you are NOT allowed to snorkel for scallops and clams
A beaching paradise – Bay of Conception
By Dorothy Bell
Photographs by Bill Bell
“We’ve only got 10 scallops snorkeling,” moaned my daughter Dylan. “And two clams.” Give kids an opportunity to complain and they will.
Here we are in Paradise found on the calm coast of the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. This is the place that I dream of when I am home and try to sooth my mind to sleep. This is the place where the bold Pacific waves are tamed by a number of peninsulas into meek wisps of lulling waves. This is where the desert with all its dry furry meets the bright blue waters of the Bay of Conception along a peaceful strip of hard-pack sand.
The Bay of Conception is indeed a beach lover’s paradise. Highway One just south of the little oasis town of Mulege, meanders in semi-circles, following cove after cove of the 30 KM stretch of the Bay. Campsites, some with facilities, but mostly not, beckon travelers as they pass the gorgeous waters to the east. Maybe a dozen or so camps offer travelers and snowbirds their place in the sun.
Playa Requeson from Highway One
I take another sip of my Corona and pretend I didn’t hear her. I shift my camp chair in the fine white sand and jiggle it as if it was a clam digging in to avoid capture. “Mom. You’re not listening,” she says. Just then her brother lures her away with the inflatable boats that we stowed in the compartment up top. They weigh very little and are easy enough to blow up with the electric pump and a converter we attach to the cigarette lighter.
Our campsite has only three other vehicles, all parked on the water’s edge. We have been here two nights and Tom from Calgary has been here for two weeks. The other license plates read British Columbia and one from Washington State. They pulled in an hour or so ago and haven’t introduced themselves yet. We’ll give them some space.
Calm waters of the Bay of Conception is perfect for Kayaking
My favorite camp along this stretch is called Requeson. During low tide, this beach has a thin spit of sand that acts as a walkway to a minute island. The walkway is drowned every high tide by a foot or so of water. The camp has a pit toilet, no municipal water or electricity. It is about $6 a night to camp and probably less for longer periods of time. It surrounded by a desert of cacti and jagged desert landscape.
The kids argue and topple in and out of the boats. Adam (15) playfully teases his sister constantly. Their voice carries over the flat salt water. “Leave me alone or I’ll tell Mom.” I wiggle my chair in a little deeper.
Bill, my husband, comes back to the RV after visiting Tom for awhile. Tom tells us that we should walk down the beach for a five minute stroll and see if the fishermen have anything to sell. “But I’ve got work to do, “says Bill as he cracks his own Corona. “I’m going to read the newspaper and then take a siesta.” The English Mexican Newspaper, The Mexico City News, is over a week old. It is a joke between us. Bill is going to snooze right after his cervezas.
Dylan returns without her brother and together we make the short jaunt down to the fishermen. In rugged clothes, jeans and t-shirts, Sweaty brown work faces; round with eyes almost embarrassed to meet yours. I ask for a fish. Preferably dead I say. The fish, while captured, are still alive in large containers of water. They pull out a large one and club him over the head. A voice says “Ten Dollars,” the only English of the conversation.
Dylan and I laugh as we begin to walk back to the rig. The fish kicks its tail up – the nerves remembering life. “I know you are doing it Mom. CUT IT OUT!”
“Dylan,” I explain, “It’s the fish. The nerves or something. It’s NOT ME.”
“Sure Mom.” She says giggling as the fish gives another kick. “CUT IT OUT!”
I slip her hand into the gills. “It’s not me Dill,” I explain.
The fish shook again and went flying onto the sand. “YUCK! DOUBLE YUCK!”
The Snapper was fantastic – almost better than the scallops and clams that were caught in the waters not 10 ft from our door. The family enjoys it coated with flour and fried quickly in hot oil. Sometimes I make a stir fry with it or smother it in a Veracruz sauce.
The $10 investment will make 4 large dinners for 4. My teenagers can eat until they can’t think and there will be enough for every meal.
I toss bags of fillets into the freezer for another time. It is nearing sunset and hurry to get a front row seat for the sunset that approaches.
Bay of Conception
Baja Sur, Mexico
$6 per night
Approximately 14 hours slow drive south of the border.
Local attractions: Perfect beach, sun, snorkeling, kayaking,
Food and Services: The oasis town of Mulege is approximately 40 kilometers away and you can purchase light groceries, water etc. Vendors often sell fish and vegetables from coolers on the back of a pick-up truck.
Best times to visit:
October to Early December
February to May