Where We Be
|We think Espiritu Santo deserves its #1 Trip Advisor ranking -- not just for
La Paz but for all of the Baja peninsula. The marine life is rich and diverse,
and the setting feels remote even though it's only an hour away from La Paz.
|Espiritu Santo Island -- Baja, Mexico
If you visit La Paz you absolutely won't want to
miss a full-day tour of nearby Espiritu Santo
Island, where we went snorkeling with sea lions
and kayaked around islets in a picturesque bay.
The water is so clear here we could look down
from our kayak and see fish, and while snorkel-
ing we saw loads of healthy coral and colorful
fish. At one point we came across a huge “bait
ball” of sardines numbering in the thousands,
and this was where things really got interesting.
We watched in amazement as cormorants dove
into the water all around us and swam after the
sardines, changing course as fast as the fish. It
felt like we were in a Jacques Cousteau video!
The sea lions, not to be outdone, put on a show
of their own. Two adults circled each other in
what appeared to be a mating ritual, making a
gyrating figure eight that was entrancing to
watch. Adolescents buzzed by us, checking us
out, and one huge male put his face right up to
ours and “woofed” at us when we got too close
to the colony. We backed right off, believe me!
|After lunch at the base camp, we reboarded the boat and continued north towards the sea lion
colony. All that white atop the rocks isn't snow -- it's guano (seabird poo). That's a lotta seabirds!
|The sea lions greeted us with noisy barks
|We donned our wetsuits and snorkels and dove in. The water was brisk but calm. Right off the bat we saw
plenty of healthy coral and loads of colorful fish – starfish, parrot fish, angel fish, and sergeant majors. We swam
towards the barking sea lions on the rocky shore, enjoying the sea fans, brain corals, and sea urchins along the way.
|We reached a huge “bait ball” of sardines that stopped us in our tracks. For half an hour we watched
dozens of cormorants diving into the water all around us, zigzagging underwater after the fleeing fish.
Beyond awesome -- a priceless memory. Then we continued on for close encounters with the sea lions.
|NOT OUR PHOTOS -- But they capture the two most memorable experiences of our snorkeling excursion to Isla Espiritu Santo:
1) watching cormorants dive after a sardine "bait ball," and 2) watching sea lions circling continuously in an underwater dance
|On the way home we stopped at this huge colony of frigatebirds.
Even in the Galapagos we never saw this many all at once.
|These ones look like they're chuckling over a good joke
|We saw several all-white fluffy chicks in their nests, as well as
males with their puffed-out red throats (used to attract mates)
|Espiritu Santo's protected status and nutrient-rich waters make it a
marine paradise. Avid kayakers can go on multi-day kayaks here.
|The hour-long boat ride to the northern end of Espiritu Santo goes quickly. There's
lots to look at, including striated rocks, vivid colors, and unusual geologic formations.
|Mar y Aventura's base camp on Espiritu Santo
is located in a secluded bay with shallow water
|The water is so clear we could look down from our kayak and see fish,
including blue tang, sergeant majors, and these king angelfish
|The island itself is visually striking
|Our boat captain pointed out how the gap
in this cave looks like the Baja Peninsula
|Our captain safely navigated us through this narrow sea
cavern on our way home. Without question a terrific day!
|What a wonderful secluded spot to anchor your boat!
|Our full-day snorkel & kayak tour with Mar y Aventuras ran us
$95 US per person (they take Visa). Was it worth it? Yes!
|Robin gets ready to paddle
me around in our tandem kayak
|We circled the islets in the bay and
kayaked around a distant headland