Snorkeling with Seals – 13th and 14th July 2019

13/7/2019

After re-provisioning in Loreto we returned to Isla Coronados for shelter from the forcasted strong winds.  We decided to go for a snorkel and I suggested it was time to brave it and snorkel with the seals.  The kids very reluctantly got in the dinghy and we headed off.  Along the coastline we saw numerous blue footed boobies relaxing on the rocks, keeping company with pelicans and seagulls.

DSCN3355

We got to the point and the male was barking, as he has done every time we have visited.  I donned by gear and hopped in.  The kids were not particularly happy with me and were concerned I would lose an arm like the Buster Bluth from ‘Arrested Development’.  No seals approached, so we anchored the dinghy around the point and all went for a snorkel.

Andrew decided to take the dinghy oar with us for protection.  Max and Ava followed closely behind Andrew.  Not to fear, the dinghy oar was not used in any manner.

Interestingly enough we did see a male seal, only it wasn’t the one in charge of the harem of girls, maybe a future contender?  Andrew dived down and came face to face with him, he wasn’t aggressive and just swam away.

After seeing the seals we went on the other side of the point, where a lot of dive boats come, for a quick snorkel.  The point has lots of rocky ledges and if you dive down you can see large schools of grouper and snapper.  We are used to seeing one or two groupers around a bombie, but never schools of them.  Above the groupers were thousands of bait fish.  We swam through them and they would part for you and then regroup when you passed.

Bait fish on the left and some of the many Sargent Majors.

14/7/2019

We went back to seal point with Jamie and Behan, for another attempt at snorkeling with seals.  The kids on both Utopia and Totem, decided they didn’t want to come, so it was an adult only trip.

We admired the seals from the rocks for a while, the current was strong on the point and there was more swell than the previous day.  Finally after a few minutes we anchored the dinghy around the point and donned all of our snorkeling gear.  By the time we reached the point, all of the seals were comfortably ashore, with no indication that they were likely to enter the water.  Everyone admired the many grouper in the water and there were a lot, while we waited for the seals to spring into action.  In the distance beside one of the incoming pangas was a marlin, jumping high in the air.  We watched, amazed as it leapt 4 or 5 times.

Andrew and I swam close to the seal rock and tried to encourage the female seals for a swim and were later joined by Jamie.  Eventually there was a scuffle as the seals squabbled for more room and one of the females came in.  She was soon joined by 4 or 5 others.

DSCN3454

It was absolutely amazing.  These curious creatures with their acrobatic skills; tumbling, back-flipping and diving below us. 

Andrew and Jamie swam down with them and had a few curious ones come close. 

DSCN3518

We all laughed at a juvenile male who swam to the bottom and scooted along the rock, using it to scratch his back.

DSCN3590

We all agreed it was definitely one of the best snorkeling trips we have had.

And a few more pics, because why not.  This is the young male who probably interacted the most with us.

Baja Dazzles Again with Dolphins and Seals – 28/6/2019

Jacques Cousteau once described the Sea of Cortez as, ‘the world’s aquarium’ and he was certainly right.  Baja has continued to dazzle us with its amazing display of both wildlife and landscape.

28/6/2019

Andrew did a bit of research to find out where the seal colony was located on the island, while Ava and I made a delicious pecan streusel coffee cake.  Once the baking was finished, we packed the snorkeling gear in the dinghy and Andrew and I headed off, the kids chose to stay behind.

We had no sooner rounded the corner of the island when we came across a huge pod of dolphins.  We slowed the dinghy as we approached and watched as they herded fish.  A large dolphin let us know through lots of tail slapping that he didn’t want us to get too close.  We watched for a while and then I jumped in.  The dolphins are edgy and it wasn’t long before they were diving down deep.  It was amazing being in the water with them to get the perspective of how large the pod actually was.  It was like watching a huge school of giant fish.

Back in the dinghy we continued our search for the seals.  Have you ever wondered what they call a group of seals?  Turns out there are lots of different names, ranging from a bob, bunch, colony, crash, harem, herd, knob, plump, pod, rookery and a team of Seals.  Who you knew there were so many.  A knob, really?

After getting two thirds a way around the island, we found them.  Our first contact was with a pair of female seals or cows.  They were very cute cuddled together, basking in the sun.

Moving around the rocky point was when we spotted a gorgeous baby.  We watched him/her for ages as he lazed in the sun, dipped in the water to cool off and occasionally lifted his head to see if we were still there.

We had our swimsuits on and snorkeling gear all ready to go, but as soon as we had arrived the male slid in the water and started barking.  The warning was received.  The females were not worried about us at all and were rather curious.  They would swim near the dinghy in groups of two or three and watch us.  It was so tempting to get in with them, but we just weren’t sure what the male would do. So instead I stuck the camera in the water and snapped some photos, hoping that I was actually capturing a seal.

DSCN3169b

DSCN3161b

The largest of the harem of girls sat sunning themselves the entire time, with the occasional tussle and barking between them.

In between the little groups of seals scattered on the rocks was one star performer.  Rather than just lazing in the sun, she did some pretty spectacular stretching, which would make any yoga instructor proud, I’m certainly envious.

I think the seals are definitely my favourite in the underwater world, thank you Andrew for sharing the fabulous experience. Ava was very envious and wished she had come, so tomorrow we are all heading back again.

P1140530b

29/6/2019

This morning we did another dinghy trip to visit the seals with Totem.  It was a little earlier than yesterday and the seals were less active, content to just relax on the rocks and pay little attention to us.  Ava thought the baby seal was adorable, I think they are all pretty cute.  Interestingly, the male seal was missing today, maybe out fishing.

P1140545b

P1140551b

We continued around the point, donned our snorkel gear and swam along the rock edge to the end of the point.  The current was strong, so we stayed in the sheltered bay and explored.  I think it was Mairen who discovered a stone fish, which are prevalent in Mexico and of course there were lots of puffer fish.  Andrew and Jamie were quite excited about the number of large coral trout they spotted while snorkeling.

DSCN3257bDSCN3260b

No matter how many star fish you see, they never cease to capture the interest of both children (teens) and adults. 

After our snorkel, on our route back to the boat we spotted a large pod of dolphins, probably the same ones as yesterday.  There were lots of oohs and aahs as we watched them.

After returning to the boat, Jamie and Andrew went off spearfishing on the mainland, returning within 2 hours, which is pretty quick for them, with 6 large coral trout.  Looks like we are having fish for a few meals.  I think they were both pretty impressed with their catch.

Isla Coronados – 16/6/2019 – 18/6/2019

16/6/2019

We decided mid-afternoon after the Loreto anchorage became rolly, to make the short hop over to Isla Coronados. As you approach the anchorage you have a sweeping view of the island, with its volcanic cone in the background and white sandy beach dotted with black volcanic boulders and turquoise waters in the foreground.

P1130942b

We had the rest of the afternoon free so we went to shore to have a look around. Unfortunately the water is still freezing, only Ava and Andrew went knee deep into it. Ava and I went for a wander around and spotted a bird squawking, Ava thought it was a seagull, I was adamant it wasn’t. Eventually the beige coloured bird started chasing after a seagull, who turned out to be its mother. I guess Ava was right.

The kids decided to stay on the beach with the kayak and do some exercise. Andrew and I went across to another beach for a look. As we moved closer to shore we noticed a lot of stingrays below us, in various sizes scoot away. It appeared that this area was the seagull rookery as there were baby seagulls everywhere, almost the same size as the parents. The babies were curious, but a little intimidated by our presence and very slowly moved as a group closer to us to have a look, until Andrew went for a swim and they all scattered.

P1130943b

It was hot and I’d had enough, on returning to the boat we discovered about 40 bees inside buzzing around. As Max has a bee allergy we did have to resort to some spray to try to get rid of them and closed a lot of the hatches to prevent their return. Thankfully it appears at sunset the bees disappear.

17/6/2019

The kids had a morning of school work before we headed ashore to have a BBQ with Totem. On our way in Andrew spotted large dolphins.  We dinghied nearby and cut the engine to watch, while Max kayaked past us.

The National Park have erected palm leaf covered shade structures with tables and seating, which is great for the tourist who come from Loreto and the cruisers. We had a nice time chatting, while Andrew Barbecued and Jamie and Behan used their solar oven to make some bread rolls to go with the sausages.

The kids and even some of the big ones messed around on the kayak, paddle board and pool float after lunch. There was lots of laughter, splashing and talking going on.

P1130989b