Snorkeling with sea lions on Isla Espiritu Santo
It was a perfect postcard day in La Paz, my final destination in Baja California Sur. Sergio, my new friend and Eco Adventures tour guide I did Todos Santos cliff walk with a few days ago, picked me up at El Angel Azul at 9 am and together with a Mexican couple of my age from Mexico City, we headed to La Concha resort, the home of The Cortez Club that was going to take us snorkeling with sea lions.
Snorkeling with sea lions? The idea was going around my mind over and over again. Was it really going to happen?
I always thought it was one of those things I would more than LOVE to do but with my luck it would not be that easy. I kind of keep missing all these things and visit places in the off-season when the unforgettable memories with cute animals (such as sea lions, whales, whale sharks, monarch butterflies etc.) remain only on my bucket list. And remain there for ever.
However this time, good luck decided to sit on me for once. We picked our masks, fins and wet suits and jumped on the motor boat. The sea was rough and the wind was strong and I could only pray for warmer temperatures and less waves later in the day.
We pulled the boat in the private marina at Costa Baja resort to load more passengers – a family of parents, 2 sweet kids and grandparents. Straight away I recognized the Argentinian accent of the grandparents and learned they have been living in DF (Federal District of Mexico City capital) for many years already. The family of 6 was incredibly cute and the little kids, a girl and a boy, kept staring at me with those big eyes.
Already that warm family feeling I got from complete strangers would be enough to make a day to count. But thankfully, there was more to come.
It was windy and a bit cold. But I spent most of the time observing the little rainbow the waves were making along the boat. After an hour on the boat we finally got to the 12th largest island in Mexico – Isla Espiritu Santo, UNESCO protected biosphere and one of the nicest islands I have ever been to. And if an island hopper such as myself says that, it has to be a real paradise.
”Just the fishermen live here on the island during the week, they catch fish and they go back to La Paz for the weekend to spend time with their families.” Sergio explained us.
Espiritu Santo IS practically a paradise. No other people but fishermen live here. No stone houses, no traffic, only unspoiled nature and crystal clear sea. Beautiful volcanic rock formations made of black basalt at the bottom mixed with reddish and whitish granite rock on the top. And all the animals living here! Many big manta rays looked like flying around our boat and a few times we even drove closer to dolphins jumping in front of our boat! And there were both many dolphins and manta rays. My camera didn’t stop clicking all around …
The sea that turned into turquoise color was finally flat and clear like mirror, no more dramatic waves, the sun started shining. I took off my jumper, put the sunscreen on, and had to pinch myself looking around and seeing all the beauty!
Life is good! I thought to myself …
We rode a little bit more until familiar noise came from another rock formation, home to la lobonera, the sea lion colony of more than 200 sea lions. First, we went up to the end of the rocks to see all the sea lions from the boat and then turned back looking for the best spot to snorkel.
Sergio with other guide advised us not to swim close to the big male sea lions and only have fun with the smaller female ones.
We spotted a few sea lions jumping around and decided it was the best place for us to put the masks on. I took off the wet suit like the only one. Come on, I am not Mexican! The sea of some 23 Celsius degrees was ok for a tough European girl like me to survive just in a bikini :)
To be honest, the first few minutes in the sea were a bit weird. Sea lions are bigger than you think, bigger than us, and also faster. I needed a minute to adapt and realize it was really fine to swim around them.
Take a cool pic of them was difficult though. Videos were much easier.
To describe the feeling of snorkeling with sea lions is a tough one. Pure happiness would be the word. I found myself smiling underwater and after a few minutes of adaptation turning around like crazy trying to capture as many sea lions as I could into the video.
After a while we also swam away through an underwater cave to observe some fish and corrals too. There the visibility was not the best but I didn’t care at all. My heart was beating like a drum from the excitement. The feeling only the proximity to animals can give me. Because the sea lions energized me as much as they could and they continued doing so when we swam closer for the second time.
Now, the tourists from another boat were swimming there, some also snorkeling, the others diving. I gave the camera to Sergio to appear in the video myself as well surrounded by the restless sea lions playing around us. I wished to go back in time and become a happy little kid again who could play with no worries. Full of life, full of energy, full of happiness.
As everything comes to an end, so did our snorkeling with sea lions. We jumped on the boat and all with a smile headed to Bonanza beach for box lunch. It was one of those paradise beaches you see in the brochures with warm sand clear water and shells scattered along the coastline. Plus sea gulls and super fast crabs calling the rocks their home. I could not imagine a better place to be at at the moment. We also walked along the beach and Sergio showed us different shells and small animals living in the sea.
Snorkeling with sea lions on Isla Espiritu Santo really brought me to life. The moment when a sea lion started swimming right into my face and wanted to bite me playing (or let’s pretend he wanted to kiss me) didn’t bother me at all. Nor did the goose bumps I got after some 40 minutes in the sea. Nor the wind messing up with my hair or the hot sun beams tickling my tan skin when sitting at the tip of the boat with another family of dolphins jumping in front of us on the way back to La Paz. It all meant life to me. And a perfect day in paradise in the waters of Isla Espiritu Santo.
Check out the video from snorkeling with sea lions:
Snorkeling with sea lions on Isla Espiritu Santo was a press trip organized by Todos Santos Eco Adventures and done by the Cortez Club as part of my Adventure and Spa project. I am really thankful for this life-changing experience! However, all the opinions in the post are my own.