Monday, March 26, 2007

Baja / Sea of Cortez kayak trip

kayaking in the sea of cortezMy girlfriend and I joined a kayak tour last week in the Sea of Cortez. The tour would cover about a third of the distance between Loreto and La Paz, Mexico, by kayak. Along the way, we would camp, snorkel, hike, etc. Here is a description of the tour from the outfitter's site. The picture is of me in my rental kayak.

The area was beautiful, and there was a lot of wildlife to be seen. One of the most impressive times is when we spotted manta rays jumping from the water. We went to the area they were jumping from and found that there were hundreds of mantas just below the surface. Below is a picture I took when I aimed my camera straight down, and another of a ray jumping just off the bow of a kayak:

rays under water ray jumping near the kayak

If the photos aren't good enough, here is a short video clip of them jumping...

We also saw many dolphins, both from kayak and from the motor skiffs - including these which we right in front of me:
dolphins near my kayak in the Sea of Cortez

Below is a video of some playing in the wake of out motor skiff:

There were also a lot of fish to be seen when snorkeling, such as those in this picture:
fish seen while snorkeling in Sea of Cortez

We did see a pair of whales (we think fin whales) and also a shark jump out of the water, but I was not able to get a photo of either. One of the reasons we chose this trip was the chance to see large whales - particularly blue or fin whales. So we were very happy when we got to see these guys.

On land, it is a desert, so we saw lots of cactus and desert wildlife. Here are two of the more interesting (and dangerous) finds:

scorpion the safe end of a rattlesnake

grilling fishAnd I am sure these fish wish they weren't found on land, but I was happy that they did - they sure tasted good! Various people went fishing during the trip, and many different fresh sea foods were eaten (fish, scallops, lobsters, etc.). We even had the luck of seeing a school of Jacks (small tuna) chasing sardines, and one woman was able to catch one.

Here is a picture of many of the folks as we watched to see if the whale would surface again:
the kayakers on our tour

And some general scenery shots:
kayaks on beach at Sea of Cortez sunset over the Sea of Cortez
Looking north towards San Jose Island in the Sea of Cortez

I uploaded over 300 photos to Kodak Gallery, for those that want to see more. (EDIT - I redid this so you don't need to log in to Kodak Gallery to see the photos)

Overall, it was a great trip, and hard to return home from.

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At 8:05 AM, Blogger California Kayaker Magazine said...

A clarification - it seems the rays we saw are actually called Mobulas, not Mantas. They are in the same family as mantas, but are a different breed.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger California Kayaker Magazine said...

I keep going back to look at the picture of the ray jumping in front of the kayak. It is hard to believe they are fish - they look more like aliens.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger California Kayaker Magazine said...

Here is a video on Youtube that some scuba divers caught of a Manta Ray (much larger than the ones we saw) jumping - filmed from underwater.


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