Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lots of Adventures at Espiritu Santos

Wow! Did Anne-Marie and I ever have a great trip up to the Islands of Espiritu Santos and Partida!

The islands are only 15 miles north of La Paz, but aside from the occasional panga tour, you would think you were in the middle of no where. There are about a dozen anchorages up and down the west coast of the islands, but most of the time there was only one or two boats in them.

At our first stop (Bahia San Gabriel), we enjoyed the frigate birds, and a two mile hike across the island to Bahia Bonanza. The hike was through an arroyo (canyon) between two mountains, and was very desert like. We did the hike mid-day, which made for a very hot crossing. The swimming at Bonanza was a great relief from the desert heat. We were the only people on this two mile stretch of amazing beach!

Our next stop (Ensenada del Candelero) had some great snorkeling very close by the boat. Some of the highlights can be seen below...

We spent two nights in a really small anchorage (Las Cuevitas) which had a Blue Footed Boobie colony on the cliff wall. It was really interesting to watch them do their mating dance (lifting their feet), listen to them whistle, and fly around the anchorage.

I really enjoy the last picture above. The Blue Footed Boobie coming in for a landing on the left is amazing! I had a dream that I was talking to a tattoo artist about that image...

One day we went for a hike at Ensenada Grande, which went up an arroyo which ended at a 550' foot high cliff on the east side of the island! It was quite a spectacular ending to a tough climb up the arroyo.

Certainly the highlight of the trip was our visit to Los Islotes (about half a mile north of Isla Partida), where there is a sea lion colony that is "friendly" to swim with. Anne-Marie was a little nervous about going in at first, as all the sea lions seemed very interested in our arrival at the Island.

Once we got in though things were going great, until a juvenile sea lion started getting too friendly with Anne-Marie (watch video below, wait for the end for sea lion footage):

Anne-Marie felt she was under attack so we retreaded to the dingy.

After some encouragement Anne-Marie put on a brave face and we went in for a second attempt. The second attempt was much better, as no sea lions attempted to eat our flippers.

Anne-Marie and I are both captivated by the above picture. Quite a lucky shot to freeze in time.

I went out for a third swim with the sea lions alone which was really interesting. I got much closer and would dive under the water with them. They seemed a little surprised to be followed under the water. When I returned to the boat, I found Anne-Marie standing in the dingy with the oar, ready to pounce!

Unfortunately there was still some water on the camera lens so it is distorted, but I think you can get the idea :)   Apparently a large sea lion was very curious about Anne-Marie and the dingy and trying to take a look inside.

We are now back in La Paz for another week or two before we will start heading north to Loreto.

P.S. After reviewing the footage Anne-Marie has realized how playfully the sea lions were nipping at her flippers and is excited to try swimming with them again when we leave La Paz. For more pictures check out our Picasa album (click on the picture or text below):

Islas EspĂ­ritu Santos & Partida

Islas Espiritu Santos and Partida

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Leaving La Paz for a bit and new videos

We're just about to leave La Paz for a week or two to explore the islands of Espiritu Santo and Partida. We've had a great time in La Paz filled with a lot of kitesurfing, skurfing (pulling a surfboard behind a dingy) and exploring with Twinkle. Here are a few pics:

We've also added a few videos from our recent (and not so recent) adventures.


If you only have time to watch one video, the dolphin one ("Dolphins Play with Twinkle") is the best.

La Paz