Still under the wing of Margaret and David, Wednesday we slept in a little bit and rode out to Playa Tecolate where we had booked a tour of Espiritu Santo, a large island off the coast of La Paz. Also a protected marine park, Espiritu Santo is known as one of the best places for sea kayaking and snorkeling in the area. You can read Danny’s review of our tour operator here. It was an amazing island and although the tour was a bit pricey for backpackers, it was well worth it. On our way around the island, our captain spotted a pod of pilot whales. We drifted closer to them and found ourselves in the midst of their movements. Although not as big as the gray whales we saw a few days earlier, seeing an entire pod of pilot whales was incredible. As they are not usually in the area until August, our captain was as pleased as we were to see them. We drifted among them and saw them not only swim, but breach and dive as well. The third pod of whales we saw, although semi-accustomed to boat traffic, seemed agitated at our presence. One swam up to the surface and flapped his tale at the boat several times, making a large splash and a loud noise. Several others stopped swimming and instead formed what looked like a defensive position over the pod. One swam so close to the boat that he actually bumped into it. We were under attack and continued on, seeing a humpback whale just a few minutes later.
At the northern most tip of the island we stopped to snorkel… at a sea lion rookery…with sea lions. Yes, with sea lions. A surreal sea-world experience, snorkeling with the sea lions was as exhilarating as it was frightening. The shrieking you here in the video is me freaking out as the sea lions swim right up to us to play. (We have a lot more video but just haven’t uploaded it yet).
Enthralled with the sea lions and snorkels in the water, Danny and I were separated from the group. One very playful sea lion joined us for the swim back to the group making circles around us and passes closer and closer to us. I flopped into the boat brimming with excitement at having swam with sea lions! (We also saw some very colorful fish and I got to hold a star fish.)
Admittedly, neither of us ever took a marine biology class, but this is a trip that I think anyone would enjoy! On the way back we stopped for a beach picnic and had trigger fish ceviche and marlin escaviche, both of which were delicious. One of the best rules of traveling is to try every meal that is put before you. So far Mexico has not disappointed at all with food, its a virtual paradise of tastes and textures and we’ve yet to even have a fajita. On our way back to shore our Danny spotted some manta rays jumping through the air, which was of course the perfect ending to an incredible day.
Needless to say our short stop in La Paz was extended for good reason. Although we’re on the ferry now to the mainland I definitely want to return to Baja California again, hopefully this time with a car!