Into the wild

If chapter 1 was about shaking down and chapter 2 about family and firsts, then chapter 3 has been about wilderness. As we circumvented around the lowest point of the Baja California peninsula we left behind the wild humans and in its place, began to discover the wildlife this place is known for.

Isla Espiritu Santo (and Isla Partida) are not-to-miss national parks if you come to La Paz. Only 20 miles north, a nice and short day-sail, they offer pristine anchorages, turquoise waters and the promise of wildlife and solitude. Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida used to be one land mass, but a volcanic crater that formed between them subsided and breached open.

Ensenada de la Raza

We spent 2 nights in Espiritu Santo at Puerto Ballena (tucked in Ensenada de La Raza) and 2 nights in Partida, tucked in the northernmost spot of Ensenada Grande. The shoal at La Raza went on and on, but at Ensenada Grande we had an accessible tiny white sand beach all to ourselves. The geology of these volcanic islands was just as fascinating as its wildlife. Think clear turquoise water inlets with white sandy beaches carved into formations of colorful striated layers of pink, ivory, black, red, and chocolate brown rock, dotted with your stereotypical cactus.

We half expected While E. Coyote to jump from behind a cactus with a box of ACME TNT.
Are we in Mexico, or is this Mars?

The water here was still pretty cold, our toes turning numb after a 30-minute wetsuit-assisted snorkel. But that’s ok, promises of tropical water were soon to come. We spotted super fat colorful starfish, needle fish, and a hoard of other reef fish I am too ignorant to call out on this post.  One night we heard this splash and deep breathing noise right outside of Bravo – a sea lion was outside our boat, diving in an out every couple of minutes. It kept us on our toes as we zig-zagged from one side of Bravo to the next – hoping to catch a glimpse and determine what in the world it was doing (eating?).

At Ensenada Grande we were napping and heard what we thought were gun shots. A couple of hours later we heard the same noise, and this time saw that it came from a flying manta as it belly-flopped back into the water. At sunset, hundreds of frigate birds were slowly flying in a vortex-type pattern for about 1 hour, over nothing in particular.

In the distance a flying manta making a run for it.
Pelicans at sunset
Pelican scouting

So far, we have encountered reef fish, turtles, whale sharks, flying mantas, eels, sea lions, humpback whales, dolphins, countless birds and tons of night-dwelling needle fish.

I can’t help but think of my wildlife biologist, marine biologist, birder and geologist friends as I wonder what something is called or why these creatures behave the way they do. Our ignorance isn’t taking too much away from the experience though. Nature is absolutely beautiful.

Until next time, Bravo out.