After a few days in isolation on the uninhabited Isla Coronados and me trying to persuade my unwilling crew members to hike the volcano, I decided Max and Ava would join me. We had an early morning start to avoid the heat during the day. It turned out to be overcast which I hoped would mean it would be cooler for our hike back down.
We had been warned by our friends, Mark and Julie, that the volcano top was covered in scree, making it somewhat difficult to climb AND that they had seen a few snakes. I led the way along the boardwalk followed by a rock bordered sandy path. I kept my head down looking for snakes on the trail when about 10 minutes into our hike I heard Max’s high pitched screech. “Snake!” he had shouted. I turned around to discover Max and Ava huddled together well behind me. I guess I can’t fault them they are Australian and we have so many deadly snakes. I couldn’t see the snake until Max pointed to it by the rocks bordering the path. I did say I was looking closely at the path, it turns out I needed to look outside the rocks on the path too.
Max and Ava were pretty freaked out and wanted to go back. I did point out that the snake was between us and we couldn’t just go back. The snake had no intention of moving so I threw a small rock on the pathway near it and it slid away. After some encouragement, I convinced the two of them to continue our hike.
We crept along the pathway somewhat more cautiously and with a lot more noise, hoping to scare any sun-seeking snakes away. After a while Max and Ava calmed down, I didn’t tell them that I had seen another snake someway off the path slither away. I heard Ava gasp as she brushed by a sharp twig and turned around to face her, and noticed that we (except Max) had walked past another rather large snake. I yelled at Max to stop which he did and we waited. Unfortunately, the snake didn’t get the message that it was time for it to move. I tried my rock trick again but to no avail. Eventually, we took a wide berth around the snake and evaded any confrontation with it.
Max and Ava asked that we go no further which I agreed with and we began our return journey. Max and Ava stuck pretty close to me and made lots of noise – as to scare off any nearby snakes – and our trip back was thankfully uneventful. We returned to the beach and radioed for a pick-up. It’s a shame that there were so many snakes as I had been really looking forward to the hike.
On our return to the boat, I decided to try to find out what type of snake it was that we had seen. Coronados does have two rattlesnakes, one Ava had spotted last year while we were here. I think the snakes we saw today were non-venomous Baja California Coachwhip Coluber Fuliginosus snakes. I’m not sure Max and Ava would be willing to do the hike again, even now that we know the snake was non-venomous, I guess I will have to make Tristan come with me next time.