Return to La Paz & the Sea of Cortez
Again we stayed at Hotel La Concha and dove with Cortez Club Divers. We did stay this time in a condo, which was very nice, a big step up from the small hotel room I had last Sept. We went into town with a rental car but couldn't figure out the Mexican drivers, who basically gun it when they see a stop sign so they don't get hit by the other guy!
We did 15 dives last; many of them at, or near, Los Islotes island where the sea lion colony is. Besides exploring the cave and sea lions there, we also witnessed Blunt-Nosed Triggerfish nesting and laying eggs. Unlike other, very aggressive Triggerfish elsewhere I've seen, these fish were very shy and hard to photograph.
The weather was muy malo Weds-Fri and so we didn't get out to the outer sites like La Reina and El Barco, due to strong winds. But we did do some cool dives on the Naked Lady wall at Punta Lobos. And I do mean cool, a temp inversion that had shafts of cold water running upwards on Thursday became a floor of a 72F temp inversion at 50'. Above that it was 83F. Doesn't sound like it to PNW divers, but we froze our butts off in 3 mil suits (mine's about 1.5 mils now). At the island, one side was 72F and one side was 83F. And it was windy on Friday going out.
We had some good dives at El Barcolito a small sea mount. We saw a seahorse and many colorful nudis, which are quite rare in Baja. At all sites there are tons of fish, thousands at times, it's amazing to be in the middle of large shoals like that.
But on Friday we did have some luck with critters. A very cool, very mellow, Angel Shark was found at Naked Lady. On the So. side of Los Islotes one dive team did spot a 12' Manta with a seal playing with it for a moment. Scott and I were just behind them and below some large boulders and saw the seal, but not the Manta...:-( Earlier in the trip we did see a seahorse and a large turtle, and fish - huge schools everywhere.
On our last dive we dove the new wreck they put down just 2-3 weeks ago. It's a Mexican navy ship, fairly large, cleaned out and opened up for divers. It's on its side, just south and inside a small bay on the sw side of Isla Espiritu Santo (near the Fang Ming wreck). It's a lot of fun to swim around - only about 60' at the bottom. There's no growth yet, only a few Cortez Angelfish and I did see one fairly large octo on the bottom out in the open. Should be a great site in a couple of years.
Probably one of the highlights happened Friday night at a dinner party the Cortez Club dive shop put on out at their bar by the shop. The pier runs out from it with some 2x4 handrails. At sunset a bunch of the CA divers (from Anchor Shack dive shop) went out on the pier to take pictures. One group was having it's picture taken by a (big) guy and as I heard some screams I looked up to see him falling, doing a spectacular somersault in the air and landing on his back in shallow water. And he kept the camera dry!
One of the handrails had broke (actually another nearby one also), as we all recalled that they were sort of rickety and rotten. If he had landed a couple of feet closer to shore, he would of been badly hurt as there are sharp rocks there. A very lucky guy! What a floor show!
All in all, a fast, but pleasant, trip.
Photos: Baja Photos