Espiritu Santo National Park lays about 20 miles east of La Paz and is the playground of those living in La Paz. Dry desert, striated cliffs slope down into clear, turquoise water. The anchorages are very inviting with shallow water and white sand beaches. Normally this area is super arid, but Odele brought lots of moisture and the slopes are dotted with blooming succulents and other greenery. In places it almost looks more like the Marquesas than Baha. Mike has enjoyed diving several different wrecks including a sunken ferry that was left intact in about 50 feet of water just out of the La Paz Channel. Yesterday he dove the The Fang Ming a Chinese vessel that was sunk by the Mexican navy in 1995. It was intercepted in Mexican waters bound for America with 157 immigrants. The immigrants were deported back to China and the Mexican government sank the boat not knowing what else to do with the decrepit boat. It is now an artificial reef and there are a number of species that now call it home.
We also had a life highlight of swimming with the sea lions at Los Islotes. With no natural predators in the area, the sea lion rookery is famous for having the friendliest sea lions. The rocky outcropping at the small islands of Los Islotes are covered with whitewash from frigate birds and blue footed boobies. We dropped the anchor in about 65 feet of water and took the dinghy closer to the islands. Once there all nine of us dropped into the water and immediately could see sea lions swimming under us and surfacing around us. It was a little intimidating at first, but surprisingly everyone was excited to get in closer. The sea lions are very gregarious and will come up and gently bite your fin or graze up against you. At first I was a little worried because Ana doesn’t wear fins yet and I was afraid they would nip her feet and freak her out. She kept pretty close, but she was a trooper and only got nervous when the large males came close by. She still can’t figure out the snorkel efficiently, so we are sticking with the mask. Mike had a sea lion rest his head on top of his and blow snot all over his head. He was thrilled! We all agreed that this stop will probably be one of our top ten stops.
In the short time we have been in Mexico and southern California, the boys have become really proficient skin divers. They spend more time diving down below the surface then they do on top; picking up sea stars, shells and checking out every nook and crevice under water. It has been fun to watch them really fall in love with the underwater world.
From Islotes we motored another couple miles to a pretty little cove on Espirtitu Santo where we dropped the hook for the night.