Next day we headed out to the islands just off of La Paz, first stop Isla Espritu Santo. We wanted to do some exploring there and to wait for a good wind to head across the Sea to Puerto Vallarta. On the way over we ran over a fisherman's drift line and wrapped it in our prop. Ooops.
Spent 30 minutes in the water cutting the lines free. Too bad for the fisherman, good deal for the fish, turtles, dolphins, etc.
Adios Steve and Maria, buen viaje!
Next we headed north to the beautiful anchorage of Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida, which is separated from Espritu Santo by a cut created by a breach in the crater of an ancient volcano. We anchored here so we could visit Isla Isoleta which is a little spec of an island, really just a couple of big rocks, just to the north that is a major California sea-lion rookery. We joined up with Frank on Solitude and headed to the island the next day. The sea lions here are visited daily by pangas bringing tourists from La Paz and they are quite friendly. It was little intimidating jumping in with these guys. However, since tons of people do it, we figured why not. As soon as Chris jumped in, after saying she really didn’t think it was a great idea because these are after all wild animals, one of the playful critters came over and grabbed onto a swim fin. He quickly let go, did a turn around, grabbed it seriously and started tugging. It didn’t look like he was going to let go. As Chris noted, “I was screaming like a little girl!”. He finally let go and promptly went over to Frank who was coming to the rescue and nipped his hand.
Trying to look at the camera while swimming away.
Sea Lions doing their rookery thing. It was too early for mating season, when the males get really pushy, although Frank and I did watch two adult males chest-butting underwater. We didn’t want to get in the middle of that! Adult males are at least 9 years old and are 6 to 10 feet long and weigh in at up to 1,100 lbs. Sea lions live 15 to 20 years old. Swimming with these guys was pretty cool!
Frank keeping a good eye on a big guy close by.
How do you tell a Sea Lion from a Seal? Sea Lions have small ears, that you can see in this picture, seals don’t.
This juvenile is just playing with this dead fish. He would grab it, throw it up in the water and watch it sink. Then nudge it around and go for another round of ‘push the fishy’.
More play live fishies in the background. There were huge schools of small silver (sardine like) fish swimming all around.
Also some other reef fish like this Giant Hawkfish (I think) hiding from the Sea Lions with local camouflage. That’s their name, they aren’t really giant, this one was about 12-16” long. Also saw a big grouper, and some really big sergeant majors and yellow-tailed surgeon fish.
A Paper Nautilus shell we found in Ensenada Grande, posing on the dodger as sunset approaches.
Paul & Chris