I’ve got some great pictures of our visit to Isabella and will post them when I get some fast wifi.
We are currently anchored in the caldera and remnant of an extinct volcano on Isla Isabella, a world heritage site and a breeding ground for thousands of magnificent frigate birds, brown and blue footed boobies and the red billed tropic birds. The frigates nest in the low branching trees and they look like modern day pterodactyls. The blue footed boobies are in breeding plumage and do their mating dance/rituals to attract mates. While sort of ridiculous looking, they are fun to watch and the kids got a kick out of them. We were greeted, upon arrival, by 3 or 4 whales moving north, and have seen more just outside the anchorage. Last time we were here, we could hear the Humpback whales “singing”. We explored the island by foot, climbed up the bluffs to where the boobies were nesting in the tuffs of grass. Many of the birds were on eggs and while we tried not to disturb them, with no natural land predators on the island, they weren’t too bothered by us. in 2009 the Mexican government implemented a rat and invasive plant eradication program and by the looks of the number of birds on the island, it was successful. If you had an avian aversion, this would not be the place to visit! The skies are full of birds, mostly the frigates, as they dive down on other birds and try to steal their catches, but also pelicans and the previously mentioned boobies and tropic birds. On land each small tree has 4 or 5 nesting or perching frigates, taking up most of the tree branch real-estate. The trees are small, but the island is covered with them and the total number of frigates is staggering. They can neither swim nor walk, so the trees offer them their only rest. The other local residents on the island that the kids enjoyed watching were the iguanas. They are everywhere and the boys loved them.
Back on the boat the kids helped Mike clean the bottom of the boat. Just three months in a marine environment and there area already barnacles attaching to the through holes on the boat, clogging water intakes and impellers. It is a constant battle, but the kids seem to like scrubbing away, it will be interesting to see how fast the novelty of that chore lasts! It is pretty hard work!
Back on the boat the kids swam and Mike lucked out shooting two fish with the Hawaiian sling. As you can imagine, fish has become a staple and we are quickly running out of recipes to cook with. Send fish recipes quick!
We spent two nights anchored out, and while the island is great to explore, their was a pretty big swell in the anchorage and after two days we were ready to try and get a good night sleep. We took off after breakfast, a short homeschool session and quick swim and we motored off towards San Blas. The seas were calm, so we weren’t able to sail, but in lieu of sailing we were awarded with numerous whale breaching shows. I’m not sure why, but the water surrounding the island is full of humpbacks, we saw them in the distance multiple times during our stay. Leaving was the most spectacular of all, a pod of humpbacks put on a full acrobatic show for us. We were able to take 10 or 15 minutes of video of the whales coming almost entirely out of the water. It was awesome and Isabella will remain, most likely, one of our favorite stops along the trip.