We looked for the mouth of a large river, called San Juanico, which the topographic maps shows larger than the Mulege River. The entrance was guarded by a spectacular basalt outcropping but like many of these esteros the mouth was blocked off by a gravel berm. We landed and looked over at the “river” and continued on. At one end of the berm was a large fish camp with people laughing and hollering and celebrating Good Friday. They roared off around the next point with three or four boatloads of people, chairs and beer. They tossed the empty Tecate beer cans in all directions as they traveled. I punctured one of the floating cans with my knife so it would sink and corrode away where no-one would have to see it as litter on the ocean. We were afraid that these people would zoom ahead and occupy a nice beach that we wanted to camp on. But they just went around one point to a north facing sandy beach that we didn’t want anyway.
I had originally written up the float plan to continue to a point named Punta Mendenares. But then Andrea Wolf had found an interesting article about Encenada San Basilio, a big cove just before Punta Mendenares. This cove was a favorite place for yachters to anchor and they waxed eloquently about all the beaches and offshore rocks. We had decided to land somewhere in here and take an extra layover day to explore it. But when we came around Punta San Basilio into the cove we saw a group of large gringo-style houses on the point. There were a half a dozen yachts anchored in the cove in front of all the nice beaches. We landed at what looked like the least desirable (to a beachgoer) beach with gravel and offshore rocks and no sand. Even this beach had a well-used road leading to it and some sort of storage building up on the bluff above it. A little post in the ground had a lot number painted on it. After sitting here looking at the houses across the cove, we all agreed to continue on and find a pocket beach with a wilderness feel to it for our next camp.
It had been and overcast day but the sky cleared as we approached Punta Mecendares. This is a beautiful rocky point with green water over a white rocky bottom and big offshore rocks. This point has a low narrow spit behind it with poor protection from the wind. We continued around the next point looking skeptically at the topographic maps. This showed the upcoming coastline as a steep monolithic cliff with few arroyos and no beaches. It was late in the afternoon so as soon as I found a pocket beach with just enough room for four tents I landed and suggested we stop for the day. Don Fleming paddled ahead and came back to say that there was a larger beach a mile farther down. We went down and the guys all landed there to check it out. We would have settled there but this time the girls (Kate DesLauriers and Andrea Wolf) leap-fogged ahead and disappeared around the next point. They came back and called us to follow them to a better beach. This was a tiny cove filled with sharp rocks in shallow water but it had a nice pumice beach with lots of room for tents and no cliffs towering over us threatening to drop down rocks.