Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yellowtail Tuna and Blue Whales

The three charters we embarked upon over the past month took us on exciting adventures to new places. Same as it ever was one might say, but it's not every day one gets to see Bahia Conception for the first time by boat, or trade 2.5 gallons of gasoline for a fresh yellowtail tuna, or view an 85 foot blue whale feeding on a large school of fish.

The above-mentioned yellowtail tuna. This was given to us on our first charter by some local Loreto fisherman in exchange for much needed gasoline for their return trip home (with a boat full of tasty fish). We extracted four very large fillets for fish tacos and ceviche.

Just outside the entrance to Bahia Conception, this blue whale surfaced in pursuit of a large school of bait fish. There were also approximately 100 dolphins chasing the same school of fish. The blue whale's blowhole is visible on the forward part of the whale by the head.

The tiny dorsal fin of the blue whale is becoming visible toward the tail of the whale. This blue whale was estimated to be 85 feet in length based upon the M/V Ursa Major's length of 65 feet.

Blue whales typically do not show their tail flukes when they dive and true to form, this one did not either. The wake from the upcoming dive is visible behind the whale where the tail is submerged beneath the surface.

We also visited Punta Pulpito, (north of Loreto and San Juanico Bay), for the first time. The snorkeling here was amazing with sea caves to swim through and new fish to discover.

While I snorkeled, Josh explored the sea caves in the skiff. An obsidian vein ran through the land above and around the sea caves and Josh was able to collect some beautiful pieces of obsidian.

Bahia Conception is full of tiny rock islands that made for excellent snorkeling and kayaking adventures. The island to the left of Josh was home to an excitable collection of brown pelicans, pelagic cormorants, magnificent frigatebirds, caspian terns, and black oystercatchers.

We spent two days at Bahia Aqua Verde awaiting a northerly blowing 30-35 knot winds down the Sea of Cortez. The M/V Ursa Major is visible in the foreground and rolling white caps are seen outside the bay.

To the far right of the M/V Ursa Major, a Mexican navy boat also took refuge in Bahia Aqua Verde.

Luckily, the anchorage offers spectacular hiking and scenery, not to mention a wonderful village to stroll through.

The local goat herd was also out for a stroll in the mountains surrounding Bahia Aqua Verde. The farmer who owns this herd produces fresh goat cheese for sale in the village's tienda.

The cemetary in Bahia Aqua Verde. This peaceful spot was located a mile back from the water's edge and is carefully maintained by local families.

While hiking between Bahia San Gabriel and Playa Bonanza on Isla Espiritu Santo, we found many agave plants with their greenish-yellow flowers in bloom. The flowering stalk was approximately 15 feet high. The recent rains have allowed the desert flora to flower early in the normally dry spring.

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