It’s a beautiful morning and we’re on our way to San Pedro Island. Undoubtedly the primary reason people visit this location is to interact with the playful colonies of resident California sea lions. Of the seven species known to exist worldwide the California seal lion is considered the most intelligent and the one people are most familiar with.
While most diving is done on
the east side of the island wind and current are always a factor here. Having an experienced captain can make all the
difference when choosing a site and we’re fortunate to have one of the best. This
morning Captain Ernesto decides on the west side and we proceed to a site called
La Caverna or the cavern.
As the crew drops anchor
we’re greeted by really large numbers of playful sea lions. Under water it quickly
becomes apparent that we’re witnessing something special as we observe a bull
sea lion swim by followed closely by a large group of smaller females. As we understand
it this may be the beginning of the mating process which lasts for several
months. The scene repeats itself and at times they’re so close we feel like
part of the entourage until the bull turns and
looks as if to say ,”be gone this is my harem”. We also encounter large
numbers of last season’s pups which are now weaned and ready to play. Twirling
and showing off we delight in the commotion of their activities. This
Water temperatures at the
island were slightly warmer this past weekend ranging from 67f surface to 63f
at depth. Visibility averages a green 10 to15 feet top to bottom. Muchas gracias
Ocean Sports Dive Shop
and the crew of the Ocean Spirit for your help in making this report possible.
We encourage you to get out and experience all the sea has to offer, support
your local dive shop and be kind to one another.
The winter solstice has come and gone and spring is around the corner. Hallelujah, that means longer days and warmer temperatures above and below the surface. While planning for the months ahead consider continuing education as part of your dive itinerary. While the Open Water Course provides the basic skills, knowledge and minimum experience needed to become a competent diver it does not prepare one for the many varied conditions and situations that exist in the “real world” of diving.
For us variety is what makes
diving so interesting, however each new condition or situation such as wreck
diving, night, deep, enriched air nitrox, photography, dry suit, search and
recovery, and equipment techniques to name a few require special skills.
Specialty courses teach those skills together with others like navigation,
buoyancy, and diver stress/rescue which increase both comfort and safety. In
short specialty courses offer a fun, exciting, inexpensive way to gain
knowledge and experience tailored specifically to one’s own needs and
Been awhile since you’ve
taken the plunge? The variety and complexity of diving equipment, skills and
locations available to recreational divers has increased dramatically. If you
don’t dive regularly enough to maintain your proficiency and comfort it’s
highly recommended (and in some situations required) that you take a Refresher
course (annually) to update your skills. Contact your local dive shop for
further information and assistance and come join us for an adventure in the
of Cortez. This
Conditions in shore remain unchanged with temps in the low 60’s and viz. averaging a green 10’to 20’. The water is a bit bluer at the island with slightly warmer temps. Muchas gracias to Ocean Sports Dive shop and the crew of the Ocean Spirit for helping us make this report possible. We welcome your input and hope to “sea” you all real soon.
Okay, maybe it can be said that the area lacks consistency. Certainly many species seem to come and go. Still many are encountered by divers throughout the year like Octopus and Moray eels. While the Sea of Cortez is home to six different varieties of octopus the two most often seen here are the Two-spotted and Fitch’s octopus. Actually a member of the same family as scallops and nudibranchs octopus feed largely on molluscs. Octopus dens are usually surrounded by discarded empty shells making them easy to find. Our two favorite spots to observe them are San Antonio Point and Lighthouse Cove at San Pedro.
Moray eels like octopus are
quite at home in our rocky bottom topography. Panamic green and Jeweled morays
are the norm locally. Feeding principally on fishes and crustaceans it’s
interesting to note that one of their favorite meals is fresh octopus. While extremely
common throughout the area our two favorite spots to look are again at San
Antonio Point or any of the coves around San Pedro. This
In a word the visibility is
“green” top to bottom. Over the weekend we had 10’ to15’locally and 20’ to 30’
at the island. Water temps. remain in the low 60’s on the surface and at depth.
Warm day time temps. and good surface viz. make this a great time to go
snorkeling. Try the cut between Martini and Catalina Cove’s or the point on the
west side of La Lo Cove. Chances are you’ll find Octopus, Morays, and Balloonfish
hanging out in the warmer shallows.
Thanks to Ocean Sports Dive Shop and the crew of the Ocean Spirit for hauling us around. Captain Ernesto your sea food chowder is muy deliciosa. Support your local dive shop and be kind to one another.
Contrary to what some
believe San Carlos
is surrounded by an amazingly large number of dive sites. Names like La Cueva
and Window Rock bring to mind images of deep canyons combined with soaring
pinnacles and magnificent underwater arches.
Many of these are local
sites and readily accessible but some are so exposed to wind and current that
they’re virtually ignored. Recently we decided to visit such a site located just
south of Deer Island. What appears as a small singular
rocky out cropping is actually the exposed crest of a large underwater reef.
You won’t find this site described in area dive guides and to our knowledge it’s
Eager to see what’s below we
wait patiently while Captain Ernesto maneuvers the Ocean Spirit in close.
Descending we enter a huge fissure which splits the reef from top to bottom.
The sides are solid rock and form a long narrow underwater corridor covered
with brilliant multicolored tube worms, sponges and anemones. We follow this
dimly lit passage until it opens onto a sunlit vista of large boulders and sand
at a depth of over 60’. Brilliant purple sea stars mingle with Gulf sun stars, spiny
Pink murex and a variety of tropical fishes. Returning we encounter large
schools of really big Bulls Eye puffers (not to be confused with porcupine
fish) which can puff up to near basketball size when threatened. Although
poisonous they are “rumored” to be good eating but only after careful
preparation by an experienced cook. Ascending we vow to return one day soon and
explore this jewel more completely. This
Conditions in the sea remain
largely unchanged from last week. Water
temps are a consistent 60 degrees +/- depending on location and depth. Visibility
is better than average and should continue to improve barring heavy weather.
Its mid morning as Captain Ernesto maneuvers the Ocean Spirit into Zorro’s Cove which takes its name from the 1998 movie, “Mask of Zorro”. Scenes filmed here include the return of the old Don under cover of darkness looking for his nemesis, Zorro. Located at the base of Punto Mirador it’s an idyllic location generally sheltered from prevailing winter winds. Although there’s a beach access is difficult so most diving is done from a boat.
Descending we encounter
Green morays, Sun stars and docile Balloonfish along with numerous small
iridescent Bluebanded gobies darting about among the rocks and sea fans. There
are an estimated 2000 species of these colorful little fish worldwide and the
sea is favored to have some of the most beautiful varieties.
Moving along the reef we
notice what appears to be a bluish sponge. Trying to appear rock like and
inconspicuous it’s actually a large Roughjawed frogfish. Adept at camouflage
they can phase from lemon-yellow to orange and red , green , brown or
black precisely matching color and
contour to blend into their
surroundings. This is the second frogfish sighting in as many months and you
can imagine our excitement as we observe and photograph this rare species. Reluctantly
we ascend to our safety stop with a renewed interest in the variety of species
and amazing diving that exists locally. This
Water temps.are warmer than normal ranging from 67 degrees on the surface at San Antonio into the lower 60’s at depth. Visibility continues to average 40’ +/- depending on depth and location.
It’s Saturday morning and we’re
anchored over the reef at San Antonio Point. This is one of our favorite local sites.
The topography is unique and it always seems to offer up something new and different.
During the summer months we’ve seen
everything here from sea horses to whale sharks but this is mid December and it’s
anybody’s guess what we’ll find.
Descending to 20’ we follow
the reef out into deeper water. We’re accustomed to seeing lots of big eels
hiding in the rocks. Occasionally you’ll get lucky and see one out swimming but
they quickly take cover. Imagine our surprise when at 40’ we encounter two
eels, a large green and a jeweled, lying out completely exposed on the sand. As
we approach they make no attempt to swim away. My first thought is that they’re
reacting to the colder water but no matter how close we get they ignore us
We swim on observing large numbers of Pink murex feeding on everything that isn’t moving including a big Panamic horse conch (pictured) although it’s questionable who’s lunch. Big elegant Pacific tube anemones are beginning to appear along with different sea stars like the conspicuous Bradley’s sea star.
Surface temperature on
Saturday at San Antonio Point was 62 degrees dropping only a degree at depth.
Visibility was 15’ to 20’ under cloudy skies. Surface temperature at San Pedro was
reportedly 62 degrees with visibility of 30’+/-.
We welcome your comments and encourage you to get out and support your local dive shop. Thanks to Ocean Sports and the crew of the Ocean Spirit for hauling us around. Thanks also to Pat S., 83 years old and still diving. You’re an inspiration to us all.