October 19 - 26, 2024
One week or two
'The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.'
ith legendary diver Jacques Cousteau describing the Sea of Cortez as the "world's aquarium", it's time to come and dive the untouched walls and reefs abounding in marine life near LA Paz in the Sea of Cortez.
How would you like to have juvenile sea lions asking you to play with them underwater? How would you like to be surrounded by huge bait balls of all kinds of fish? How would you like to see hammerheads, mobila rays, and while crossing to our dive sites see families of dolphins and whales?
October 26 - November 2, 2024
Nestled between the Baja California Peninsula and mainland Mexico is the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez. Famous oceanographer and marine conservationist Jacques-Yves Cousteau called this area "the world's aquarium" because of its immense diversity. This little bit of sea holds one-third of the Earth's marine mammals and 900 species of fish.
Visibility averages 100 feet and the water temperature should be in the low 80s.
We have arranged a spectacular week based in LA Paz Mexico with Luke Inman, author of the book: "The Sea Lions of Los Islotes" This award winning film maker and photographer, BBC Planet Earth III and Netflix Our Planet 2 Field Director, is also a deeply committed conservationist. We are thrilled to partner with Luke for a spectacular week above and below the water.
Our day trips start at 8.30am from Marina Palmira, where we will be staying at the La
Paz Marine Waterfront Hotel. All your equipment will be assembled and tested for you, and rinsed and stored each day. Relax and enjoy the crossing to the islands. Take in the incredible beaches and wildlife as you go.
Keep your eyes peeled for pods of dolphins and friendly whales as we cross the channel and don’t forget the jumping Mobula manta rays! Crossing the channel takes approximately forty minutes to an hour, depending on the sea conditions and the northern most dive sites an hour or more to reach.
We will have two or three boats, with marine heads, that are fast, comfortable and spacious. All our guides are PADI Instructors and possibly extra dive master students in training.
A sample of the dive sites we hope to visit:
Los Islotes Sea Colony
Situated half a mile north of Isla Espiritu Santo are Los Islotes, two large rock islets one of which is a natural arch. Diving through the center of this natural rock formation brimming with life one can expect to see dense shoals of silver sardines, blue and gold king angel fish and yellow surgeon fish amongst golden cup corals. These islets are home to a colony of over 200 Californian Brown Sea lions. These inquisitive creatures take great interest in those visiting their home. One can often turn to find the pups pulling at your fins, eager to play, showing off and turning circles around our comparatively clumsy underwater movements.
A rock islet just north of Isla Cerralvo with a lighthouse. This site is among the most beautiful in the area. In depths of up to 80ft (25m) a large reef is found populated by gorgonians of all types, brain corals, large schools of brightly colored tropical fish, rays, green, zebra and jewelled morays. This is a “must-dive” site! This dive is subject to current but is home to over 8 giant pacific manta rays.
Voted as one of the most enjoyable sites by divers. With a max depth of 35 ft, great visibility, coral heads, walls covered with gorgonians and hundreds of schooling fish Swanee Reef is an excellent dive site. This site is where the famous wreck of the “Salvatierra” hit bottom some 35 years ago you can still find the deep gauge left behind by the big ferry, now barely visible because it is so overgrown by corals and sea fans. The top of this reef is only 6 ft deep and it is covered with living coral where a wide variety of creatures find and call it home.
This reef is now marked with a channel marker to avoid more incidents.
Here big schools of green jacks find shelter from larger predators, at any given time you can be surrounded by them just to see them disappear when other fish or a sea lion comes by.
El Baja Sea mounts
This is an advanced dive for those who can do it. The seamount is located 8.2 miles from Los Islotes. There are three distinct underwater peaks arrayed along a three hundred yard line. The northern peak rises to within 83ft of the surface, the central peak to within 52ft and the southern to within 69ft. The central peak, with its shallow depths and relatively
flattop, is the primary dive site and anchoring location.
This is one of the premier dive sites in the world for schooling Hammerhead sharks. Schools range from between six to hundreds travelling in a clockwise
direction around the seamount for unknown reasons.
Arriving at the dive site you will be briefed on the dive. The dive will be as long as you like. Dives are based on how good your air consumption is.
We then decide to eat lunch, visit the beach or go on to the next dive site. We take our time and aim to be back around 4pm in the afternoon. Where the team will rinse your gear and store it overnight in their secure storage.
While schooling, hammerheads are not at all aggressive, and reassuringly enough, they actually appear disinterested in divers. As a seamount, El Bajo is home to an abundance of sea life, masses of schooling fish (amberjacks, tuna etc), octopus and the impressive Panamic Green moray; a colony of over fifty can be found in a small canyon. Aside from possible encounters with hammerheads, frequent visitors to the seamount include whale sharks and giant pacific manta rays.
GOOD TO KNOW
Shared accommodation at the La Paz
Marine Waterfront Hotel
10 -12 dives depending on conditions
Tanks, weights, guide
Digital or hard copy of “The Sea Lions of Los Islotes”
Sea Lion Diver Distinctive specialty and certification card
If you decide to stay for two weeks there will be a discount of $200 for the second week.
Dive gear (rental available)
Computer (required and rental available)
International flights and hotel transfers
Dive insurance including repatriation (required); we like DAN.
Travel Insurance (strongly recommended); we like Allianz.
• Proof of diving certification and dive insurance is required. Without proof, you will not be able to dive. NO EXCEPTIONS!
• Every diver is required to have a dive computer.
• The dress is casual. Do not forget your hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 will save your place.
Cancellation for any personal reason must be covered by your private trip/travel insurance.
Passport is required.
Here’s to forever blowing bubbles,