Several times we made the 1,000 mile drive from California down through Mexicos Baja Peninsula, to dive relatively remote sections in the Sea of Cortez. Four of us, all experienced scuba and open ocean divers looked forward to these trips
Because of the remoteness of these destinations, we took everything to make us self sufficient. Two pick up trucks each pulling 14’ inflatable boats, loaded with supplies, tools, fuel, camping and diving gear, including our own air compressor to fill our scuba tanks.
We would normally cross the border in Tijuana just as the sun was rising in order to get all of the Mexican driving done during daylight hours.
Sometimes our destination would be the coastal village of Bahia De Los Angeles (bay of angels) where we would enjoy great fishing and diving in the incredibly rich waters of this area.
In the 1800’s a Scotsman came to Bahia De Los Angles to search the surrounding mountains for ore. He liked the area so well that he decided to stay. He must have had extremely blue eyes, because you can instantly spot his descendants by their most deep cobalt eyes… I never found any of them to have inherited his ability to speak English.
But after leaving Tijuana this morning, our destination was Punta San Francisquito, over 400 miles south to the Sea of Cortez. The next 14 hours took us through a desert paradise of Saguaro cactus, prickly pear, clusters of house sized boulders interspersing vast expanses of scrub brush and sand. The last leg culminated in a hundred mile stretch of washboarded dirt and dust road…arriving at dark into the rustic encampment of Punta San Francisquito.
Our tired, dust caked trucks, made it to the edge of the beach, where we set up camp battling heavy winds in the darkness using Coleman lanterns and lights from our vehicles.
First thing in the morning we got ready to get our boats in the water and explore this part of Mexico, when my brother Mike noticed his knapsack with identification and cash, a sizable amount since credit cards were no use here, was gone. It could have slipped out of the vehicle anywhere along the last part of the route, as we stopped several times to check the vehicles for damage.
But just then a Mexican came driving into our camp with a big smile on his face and asked if we had lost anything. He produced Mike’s knapsack which he had found just outside of the encampment alongside the dirt road. Inside, everything was there including every dollar.
Mike offered him a reward, but the man said: “no, it was only right to return the belongings to the owner.”
Buoyed by the act of the Good Samaritan, we proceeded to enjoy the next several days exploring this beautiful part of Mexico. We ran into the man often during this time as he worked on the property…. needless to say there was never a worry as to the safety of our possessions while we stayed here.
Every day we dived areas that were full of sea life; open ocean pelagic fish and reef fish in abundant numbers. Every undersea cave I peered in had spiny and slipper lobsters, but many of these caves also had large moray eels, so if I wanted lobster dinner I had to dodge the moray.
Most of the time we took our own boats to discover places to dive, using depth finders to show us where interesting rock formation laid below us in the depths. The local Mexicans were very friendly and told us of good places to try.
Sometimes we went with the local Mexicans in their boats to cross the open water to dive the island of San Lorenzo. In the deep blue water, we drifted in the swift current among schools of large fish, like yellow tail, tuna and Dorado.
We saw 7 gill, angel and horn sharks, some fairly large, but none of the aggressive types. I was surprised when nudged on my side by a young sea lion who seemed curious about me, but when I paid him no attention he swam off.
Diving the deeper reefs to 130' depth using scuba gear, we saw large grouper up to 300 lb size.
At the end of the trip, we said hasta la vista to our Mexican friends and left San Franciscquito. This time we traveled back through Bahia de Los Angeles on a better road. We stopped for a break and got to see the most remarkably blue eyed Mexican descendants of the Scottish miner again.