IMG_0790 (Large)Our sailing trip got off to a windy start but then the weather calmed as we continued to explore and enjoy the islands in the southern Sea of Cortez. We decided if a norther, or strong wind, is in the forecast, we’ll head to La Paz or Puerto Escondido for shelter. We’ve anchored in some gorgeous bays, enjoyed some good snorkeling and also visited the famous Sea Lion colony, Los Islotes! When we pulled up to the round, tan, rock island of Los Islotes and saw a huge National Geographic ship anchored there, we knew this would be a great place to see animals.

We left early in the morning for Los Islotes and when we got within a mile of it we began to hear the cries and belches of hundreds of Sea Lions. They bellowed loudly as they luxuriated and flopped around on land.

IMG_4595 (Large)Off in the distance we saw an amazing sight – flying manta rays! The sounds of them loudly belly flopping into the water first attracted our attention as we cruised a half mile away from them. Brian pulled the boat up next to them. They would launch several feet out of the water with wings flapping wildly in mid-air as if they felt confused about their location. Land or water? Can I fly away if I flap hard enough? They were very entertaining. We saw them a couple more times at sea after this, doing the same thing.

Within a half mile of the sea lion colony, groups of curious sea lions approached the boat at the surface of the water. These creatures couldn’t wait to play with us. When we finally anchored next to the National Geographic ship and jumped into the water, several small sea lion pups immediately swirled around us in the water! They were very cute and curious.

IMG_0845 (Large)As we swam toward Los Islotes, groups of young sea lion pups circled around us and swam right at our faces, blowing bubbles and changing course right at the last minute to avoid head butting us. I looked down and saw a pup chewing on one of the fins on my feet with big teeth! I felt a little nervous. Other sea lion pups were chewing on ropes. How do I know they aren’t going to chew on me? Brian explained only the small pups chew on fins, and they do this to humans because they also chew on each other’s fins. There were some very large sea lions in the water, and thankfully they were not interested in us at all. I would sure not want one of those big bulls nibbling on me.

We stayed in the water for at least an hour enjoying their company and I grew more and more relaxed with them. After all, they are used to tourists visiting their home and they seem to like us as much as we like them. After our Sea Lion encounter, we moved the boat to Ensanada Grande in some pretty big waves – bigger than the boat. The boat just bounced right through them. This small boat is made for big waves with a 4,000 pound piece of lead in the keel to keep it upright. I find sailboats to be pretty amazing.

IMG_0902 (Large)Ensanada Grande is a turquoise bay surrounded by peach colored rocks. We ended up having only one boat with which to share the anchorage, and later in the evening the captain, Clif, rowed over in his dinghy to invite us to have drinks on the beach with he and his girlfriend Giselle later than evening. These young sailors had just sailed all the way from Juneau, Alaska to La Paz, Mexico and had some exciting sea stories to share. They are currently living on their 34 foot sailboat and cruising around Mexico for the next couple months, snorkeling, diving and hiking along the way.

IMG_0898 (Large)As we chatted on the beach, the sun set and a small black rabbit visited us. He sniffed Giselle’s finger and hovered around our little beach party for at least an hour. Clif and Giselle planned to visit the Sea Lion rookery the next day, so we went again for a second day of playing with them! This time we rode to the rookery in Clif and Giselle’s boat and then they returned us to Ensenada Grande afterward. I wouldn’t mind yet another day with the sea lions, but the next day we did a great sea kayak and hike on Ensenada Grande. We boulder hopped up a rocky valley, avoiding prickly plants. We got to the top and enjoyed a great overlook of the Sea of Cortez. Doesn’t it look calm and glassy today?

Lisa Hackett

About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. Seriously. More

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer.
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About the Van

Hi, I’m Vanifest. I’m a big, 4x4, off-the-grid van complete with solar panel for power. I'm a 2000 Dodge Ram Van and Lisa has had me since 2009. Read more about me here.


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