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Shipwrecks--Baja, CA

Review & Photos by Bill Polick

A bit about it

Located about 120 miles south of the San Diego border crossing, Shipwrecks is isolated on the coast of The wrecked shipBaja California.  Crest the hill leading to the beach and you see why "Baja Rincon" changed its name.  There's the rusted hulk of a coastal cargo ship run aground years ago.

Shipwrecks is a point break.  Unfortunately, the ship broke right on the point and the swell hits metal before it hits shallow water.  Because the ship rests on its starboard side, the old mast, boom and cables are obstructions to avoid!  The seaside break north of the point did not line up at all while we were there.


June in the Northern hemisphere is supposed to be Spring.  Warm temperatures and warmer water. Colin drop knee What we got was wind, wind, wind, cool air and cold water.  In fact, on the way down we stopped at Raul's where we had 6' surf with water in the high 50s.  Eighty miles south the surf was 1'-2' with sea temperatures in the low 50s.

Cobbles line the shore making the walk into the water a bit dicey without booties.

Since our camp site was on the flat point, we had wind almost Rusty bowall day and all night.  Camping was primitive (I slept in the back of my truck).  There's one rickety privy with no door.  There is a small "resort" there with what looked like acceptable accommodations.  Surfing tours book the place several times a year.

This is strictly a right break, but the rides can last 75-100 yards.  Catch the wave from just off the ship's mast and cruise deep into the cove.  It's a long paddle back out, but you don't want to climb out of the water, walk across the rocks, climb a small but unstable cliff, walk down a rocky dirtThe ship and break road and walk back across the shore rocks to get the next set.  Or...kick out!

Travel Tips

I like surfing in Mexico, the uncluttered breaks and decent waves are priceless.  The farther away from the border you get, the friendlier the atmosphere.  That doesn't mean, however, you can let your guard down or act like a butthead!

If you're driving down from the States, make sure you have Mexican insurance.  If you don't and have an accident, you've got majorly bad juju!  Read your travel guides and respect the law.  Don't leave your valuables in your car/truck/van.  A break called Quatro Casas is just a short dirt road drive up the coast from Shipwrecks and while we were there we heard horror stories of theft in that area.  The campground we stayed in had a caretaker who kept an eye on things.  I don't know how he'd stop a pack of thugs, but we had no problems.

Learn a little Spanish before you venture too far from the border.  Having lived in Puerto Rico for about three years, I know enough of the language to get myself in a mess.  But it is helpful to be able to get some basic points across.

How you get there

From the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego, follow the signs for the "Toll Road" to Ensenada.  There are several toll booths along the way so take plenty of change.  Once you get through Ensenada, follow the two-lane highway south, through mountains, canyons and fertile fields filled with food of the future.  Past Colonet, look for a huge sign that says "Shipwrecks" with an arrow pointing to the right.

Trekking homeFrom the highway, you'll follow a soft dirt track through farm worker shacks, but there are signs to show the way.  I recommend a 4x4, but it's not mandatory.  There were stretches of the dirt road where I zipped through in four-wheel high while my friends in their vans had to punch it and fishtail their way through.

Would I go back?  Sure, why not!