Shell Island Memorial Day ’08 The beautiful sand coast south of San Felipe is a favorite Baja camping destination. The barrier island created by tidal lagoons between Percebu and Bahia Santa Maria has been my favorite place to beach camp for over 30 years… I named it ‘Shell Island’.
One fine Baja beach!
Before finding a low tide access track onto the island back in 1978, I would drive to the far north end of Bahia Santa Maria. There I would wade across the narrow channel onto the island’s south end, to see the shells and enjoy the solitude.
As soon as we arrive, Elizabeth has to make contact with the sea!
The vehicle that takes us anywhere in Baja is a 2005 Toyota Tacoma TRD 4 door four wheel drive truck, 4.0 liter V-6, 16″ tires (stock size). For deep sand, deflate tire pressure by ~50% to float and not dig in!
Elizabeth and I set up camp. It takes four wheel drive and deflated tires to travel over the crushed shell and sand beach to our camp spot in the low dunes.
Looking north, the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) is on the right and Laguna Percebu is on the left… empty at low tide.
The view south from the dunes on Shell Island.
The terns were quite active this trip!
They move so fast, I had a difficult time trying to photo them!
We soon learned why all the fuss!
Tiny tern chicks on the open beach… guarded by several adults.
Very very tiny and not easy to spot!
Chick in a shell
Seeking a bit of shelter or to blend in with this shell?
Note the chick in the shell at the bottom of this photo. See our camp, not far away in the background. About 5 adults surrounded the chicks at equal points, about 10-20 feet from them. When other birds approached (gulls, pelicans) they took to the air to chase them off!
We tried out a new ‘easy-up’ sun shade this trip.
Elizabeth got some reading time in: Graham Mackintosh’s new book ‘Marooned With Very Little Beer’.
We had plenty of beer!
The view from my chair…
High tide is coming…
No waves unless the wind whips up some in the gulf.
Laguna Percebu filling up with the incoming tide.
The other direction… looking south along the lagoon and across to the Baja ‘main’ peninsula.
Usually it is just us… if others are camping nearby we don’t hear them. The island is 4 miles long and the sounds of nature such as the sea, wind and birds is what we usually hear. Perhaps an occasional dune buggy or quad will zip by on holiday weekends.
The end of a perfect day in Baja… sunset behind Diablo Mountain beyond tranquil Laguna Percebu!
Last Year: June, 2007
Here are some photos from the previous trip to Shell Island, nearly a year earlier. We made a shade with PVC pipe and a tarp…
We are into easy… shade, tent, table, ice chest, chairs. No electricity needed!!
With the zoom lens, you can see the homes of Bahia Santa Maria five miles south from this location.
Thanks for visiting!
If you have the right vehicle and desire… the type of camper who hauls out what he brings in and wants to experience the Baja Feeling the way we do, Shell Island access is at Km. 26. or from the coastal buggy track between Percebu and Santa Maria. Have a great time!
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The list of links below will take you to a web page with one or more photos of Shell Island from past trips. Photos may continue onto 2 or more pages. Many past visits are not included.