Our Private Bay: Surfing, Sand dollars, and Sand Dunes

Dunes and Surf abound at Bahia Maria
Dunes and Surf abound at Bahia Maria

On Thursday, April 2nd, a week and a day after we departed from Ensenada, we arrived at Bahia Maria: a very open and peaceful place in Mexico. The town was quiet and the wind was strong. There was practically nobody there. The only other boat in sight was a 75 or so ft. expedition type boat with three jet skis tied off the back of it. The only reason why we were at this particular bay was because the surfing was supposedly good. But in the long run we found a different purpose in staying: sliding down giant sand dunes. After some time getting settled in, putting up our little canopy, and placing our life jackets back where they belonged, we decided to have dinner. Lately during our travels on the boat we haven’t been eating as much. So instead of three meals a day we’d only eat two. My mom made rice and beans and we all gobbled the meal down.

Looking for the perfect break to anchor
Looking for the perfect break to anchor

The next day we woke up early to motor around the bay to check out the surf spots. We pulled up anchor and took a little put put around, looking for the best wave break. While motoring, I pulled out the binoculars and saw in the background, mountains of sand hills just waiting to be slid down. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to go and ride them. Right around the spot where I saw the sand dunes, was a nice little surf break. We anchored, and then Trent and I hopped in the water with our surfboards and wet suits. During our surf time, we caught only a few little waves. Although they were small they were still very fun. I thought it was super cool to have our own private surf spot for just the two of us. Returning to the boat, we stowed our surf supplies and readied ourselves for sand sledding over at the big dunes. When he and I were all prepped with the necessities: kayak, life jackets, paddles, swim trunks, and boogie boards, we headed off.

Getting to the beach was the hardest part. In the end, we both got wet. Due to the active surf, I got completely soaked where Trent got only a little wet in comparison. We parked our kayak, and as we were drying our clothes, we observed sand dollars lying on the beach, everywhere, of all sizes. It was very cool to see so many different selections. The finest ones were the bright white variety and the best part was that almost all of them were complete and unbroken. It was the most sand dollars I had ever seen in my life. While walking to the sand hill, we noticed that there were a whole lot of other shell varieties too. Shells littered the beach as far as the eye could see. Climbing up the dune and looking down the 30 ft. hill, I thought of all the different possibilities how I might crash. At some point, I ignored whatever doubt there was and just went for it. Running straight for edge of the hill, I pushed my self down on my stomach and slid all the way down to the bottom without crashing. I felt a rush of adrenalin surge through my body, and it felt really good. I went down a few more times on my stomach and eventually became somewhat bored. To make it more interesting, we walked around the dunes trying to find a steeper and taller hill, but during all our time trying out new slopes the best one was still our starter sand mountain. We headed back to our mountain of sand and rested. We then came up with another way to slide down the hill: on our bottoms. I went first and surprisingly made it all the way down on my first try. It felt as if I were going down at 25mph. We tried all the positions we could think of: backwards, standing up and on our knees, tandem riding, and standing up on our feet. Overall the most fun for me was standing up on my feet. It felt very good being able to make it all the way down: feeling the wind rushing on my face, and having the view of the ocean with our wee little boat in the distance.

Sliding down sandy paradise
Sliding down sandy paradise with my bro!

After 3 or 4 hours of sand dune fun, my dad blew the horn calling us back. We gathered our stuff, including a selection of sand dollars, then placed it all on the kayak. On the way out, we got extremely wet getting pounded wave after wave, but eventually we made it safe and sound back to the boat. We unloaded our belongings one by one. All was accounted for, including some extras, our sand dollars. We showed them off to our parents while recounting the whole story of our adventures. We asked if we could do it all over again tomorrow. Their reply was a kind, “maybe.”

The next day I woke up at six in the morning and asked if we could motor over to the sand dunes again. Thankfully my dad said yes. So we ate breakfast quickly, pulled up the anchor and headed back over to the dunes. When Kandu arrived near the sand dune spot, Trent and I pulled everything together to get ready to go: our kayak, paddles, boogie boards, and backpack full of camera supplies. This time my mom said she was coming, and she actually did. First we stationed Mom in the middle of the boat, and then we jumped on. We paddled to where the waves were crashing less, and timed everything out to make sure we didn’t get too wet. Right as I saw an opening, we started paddling. My mom was freaking out and yelled at us to go faster since the water was way to cold for her. We finally made it safely without getting too wet and cold. I pulled up the kayak away from where the waves reached and we grabbed our stuff to head out. Trent and I led our mom to the sand dune where we had slid down the day before. To our surprise, it looked 5 ft. steeper than yesterday. I went first to show mom how to do it and right behind me was Trent. After a few demonstrations, mom decided to give it a try. We explained to her all the basics of how to go down without breaking anything and then she went. She made it all the way down in one peace on her first time around, and was smiling.

Back from a day of duning and beach combing.
Back from a day of duning and beach combing.

Trent decided he would bring out his GoPro and video camera the action. Our first video wasn’t that good. In the beginning, he panned around, and then he went down first with me following. It wasn’t as cool as the video when I went down first. We took a few more videos and walked around the dunes to see if there were any other hills that had formed over last nights wind. But the best one was still our initial dome of sand. After a while, I was done and walked down to the beach to swim; it was a little chilly. I called Trent over to come and kayak surf with me. Trent and mom packed up and headed back down to the beach. He and I paddled into the waves to catch some fun. Finally a wave came but sadly failed to catch it. As we went out for another go, my dad blew the horn to bring us in. We turned around to head in, but saw a great wave. We paddled for the wave and caught it. The wave knocked me off the kayak into the water, and even though the kayak was about to flip, Trent somehow managed to ride the yellow banana all the way back to shore. Now it was really time to leave. We stuffed the GoPro camera and our favorite sand dollars in the backpack and left. It was a bit rough getting off the beach, but we made it safe and sound back to our cozy little boat. After straightening up the boat, Kandu & crew threw off anchor to head off to a new destination in Mexico: Puerto Vallarta.

Treasure of Bahia Maria
Treasure of Bahia Maria

It was a great time in Bahia Maria. Our two days were filled with many adventures: sliding down 35ft. hills, surfing at our own beach, finding the most sand dollars I’ve ever seen, and hanging out with family. And the best part was that it was all ours, our own private bay.

The End!!!

Bryce Rigney

4 thoughts on “Our Private Bay: Surfing, Sand dollars, and Sand Dunes”

  1. Do you guys know what your itinerary will be around 13-24 of June? Aiden will be going to a resort in Mexico with a friend from school. I’m not sure where, I’ll find out. But it would be great if he got to see your guys.

    1. At that time, we hope to be sailing into French Polynesia (Gambier or Marquesas) from the Galapagos, a 25-day sail. But arriving only at the very tail end of those dates.

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