Best Snorkeling Ever
Just off the east point, lie boulders the size of SUV’s that have tumbled into the sea, providing one of the best snorkeling venues I’ve ever seen. We floated along this rocky outcropping all the way from the beach a ¼ mile to the point and back. Along our trek, dolphins swam into the anchorage; they were busy fishing and paid us no attention but we could hear their breathing from several hundred feet away while we swam. Every now and then, a ray would jump and splat. I’d quickly look up from snorkeling but never caught them in the act from my surface angle. But even rays and dolphins weren’t as interesting as the fish factory down below…
Entire schools of fish by the hundreds floated along this boulder-strewn reef. Of course, there are your standard yellow & blue stripers and blue spotted pufferfish roaming the shallow spots. But in just a little deeper water, light grey ones (looks like some kind of angelfish) with bright yellow tails were schooling around in large packs! It was so mesmerizing to just float and watch these graceful creatures. Looking closer at these guys you can see they are actually spotted and have 3 distinct white dots near their tail that look to me like pinholes through their bodies.
The most beautiful species were these large, 3ft grouper-like things, brightly painted with every color of the rainbow. Every so often, I found a pair incongruously mingling among the comparably smaller schools of yellow-tailed angelfish, so they must like each other. Preferring to swim closer to the bottom, they were always a bit too far out of reach for good pictures. My camera could not capture their iridescent beauty anyway, even after photo-shopping out some of the greenish underwater tones.
Another feisty type sported a pretty light blue head and dark blue body. Seemingly loners, they did not swim well with others. Each was so territorial he had no issue with swimming fiercely at an entire school of yellow-tails to deter them from getting anywhere near his little hidey-hole. I captured an example of one protecting his rock-abode near the end of my video.
On our way back to the beach I suddenly ran into a swarm of foot-long silver-colored fish. I have no clue to their type, but literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, made their way en-masse along the 20ft deep reef. Sometimes they would lackadaisically float as a group in the same general direction, teeming all over the sea floor like bees. Then, all of a sudden, a switch turned on. Either they got spooked… or maybe the General announced an alarming “Retreat!”… and within a split second, everyone had a single, overriding mindset… bolting out to sea like their life depended on it (probably did!). It looked just like the movie Finding Nemo… a fish super-highway with seemingly no end to the stream! The whole experience was so amazing I went for a repeat, swimming back from the boat by myself a couple hours later just to see it all again. (Plus, I got out of cleaning the boat’s hull.) My fish friends were all still there, in endless supply.
That afternoon, our new boat neighbor yelled over to us urgently: “Hey guys, look up towards the cliff!” Standing on top of this sheer mountain spine, was a bighorn sheep silhouetted against a bright blue sky. Looking all majestic, it’s as if some documentary director had posed him there for an episode of Planet Earth. So cool!
After snorkeling, we were sitting down below and heard a tap-tap-tap on the hull of the boat followed by an angry squawk. A seagull had been hanging around us ever since we had arrived, creeping closer and closer, finally hovering in the water only a couple feet away, squawking like he expected a giant feast. Well, eventually he got bold (or stupid) enough to start pecking at our hull! That’s it. We tried to shoo him away to no avail. Yelling didn’t work, neither did shwacking the area near him with an oar…nothing phased him. He’d fly 50ft away for 2 minutes, then come right back. The following morning we awoke to more tapping from our ingrate expecting breakfast. Brian flew out of bed and furiously squawked back at him. Literally… squawked. Time to go.
Paradise to Purgatory
We were leaving early anyway, Mr. Seagull just made it happen sooner. The wind had picked up from the southeast during the night and we’d just about had it dealing with the wrap around swell and rolling side to side. Here is another perfect example of why you just can’t visit every anchorage in one year. Winds are always changing - one day an anchorage might be just dandy, another day it might be hell or… could be both in the same day, you never know. In this case, it degenerated from paradise into, not hell but definitely somewhere near higher purgatory, quite quickly. Even though another day of perfect snorkeling would have been awesome, the uncomfortable boat motion wasn’t worth the stay. Plus, we needed to head to Bahia Salinas to gain protection from an oncoming norther anyway. So we left our seagull friend to pester the remaining boat and hoped he wasn’t dumb enough to follow us!