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Bahia Willard Papa Fernández Bay (Bahia Willard)


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Q: What's tiny and yellow and very, very, dangerous?
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Papa Fernández, Baja California, Mexico

Fri 19 Jul 2024 04:55:07 PM

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The tiny settlement know as Papa Fernández takes its name from its centenarian founder Gorgonio (Papa) Fernández who first established a fish camp there in the 1950's. Later he moved there with his family (from Loreto in a rowboat), and has provided a welcome stop-over for Baja adventurers traveling the rugged dirt track which leads south along the Sea of Cortez from San Felipe to Calamajue Canyon and beyond. Papa passed away on February 20, 2001 at the age of 104 years. The location also goes by the names Punta Willard, Bahia Willard, Bahia San Luis Gonzaga, Papa Fernández Landing and Papa Fernández Resort.

Today Papa Fernández offers a number of items of interest to the Baja traveler, including:

  • Restaurant - Family-run, open year round
  • Camping - Secure, secluded palapa beach-sites with pit toilets
  • Boat Launch - Hard-surface ramp, secured parking
  • Lots for Rent - Secluded, ocean-front, year-round security

Papa Fernández is a great place for a short visit or a longer stay, for dining, camping, sportfishing, kayaking, sail-boarding, swimming, snorkeling, hiking and off-roading.

Early Spanish explorers recognized that the well-protected bay formed by Isla San Luis Gonzaga and the Punta Willard peninsula was a unique natural resource. The bay was first noted in written history in a report to the King of Spain by Fernando P. Consag, a Jesuit Missionary from Mission San Igancio who, with 6 soldiers and a few Indians in 1746, explored the Baja peninsula coast from the south up to the Colorado River Delta. As large ships were very scarce, this was done with four sail canoes.

The original Spanish-dug well still supplies water to the Papa Fernández settlement. Remains of the Jesuit storehouse that was used by Spanish ships to supply Mission Santa Maria near Cataviña can be found nearby.

As for sportfishing, the waters around Papa Fernández are home to an amazing variety of fish, just waiting to be caught. These include dorado, halibut, corvina, Mexican lookdown, bronze striped grunt, Cortez grunt, sculpin, sierra, yellowtail tuna, ribera bass, spotted bass, triggerfish, and needlefish.

Tracing Cowboys And, now there is a movie named Tracing Cowboys, filmed at and around Papa Fernandez, featuring the Family as actual cast members...not just "extras". Here is a preview: Tracing Cowboys trailer. You can order a copy of the video from Amazon. The photography in this video of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez is outstanding.

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