Last Friday we booked a two-hour panga snorkel and whale-watching tour out to the Islas Marietas (click here to read more about the islands). It was not cheap, but since the islands are a federal preserve, there is an entrance fee per person in addition to the panga captain (Jaime) and the English-speaking guide (Valentin). Steve and Lynn from Bella Luna joined us – we met them first at Cabo San Lucas in the marina after the Baja-HaHa and now here in La Cruz.
The panga left from the beach in Punta de Mita and we were watching whales within ten or fifteen minutes (click on the photo below – the good stuff is in the first three seconds).
It’s the season – the whales follow the warm water, leaving cooler waters behind (sort of like cruisers!). There are humpbacks in the bay, and every now and then an orca (killer whale) sneaks in for a snack. Sadly, one of their snacks can be baby humpbacks. Valentin thinks one of the babies they saw a few weeks ago has become orca food.
The islands have a hidden beach – we had to swim under a rock arch to get there – when the waves went in there was about four inches of head room.
Valentin was great, waiting at the lowest point of the arch and making sure we didn’t hit our heads. At least he didn’t have to rig up a life vest/life ring contraption and pull us in like a couple people on other tours.
The beach was cool, but very crowded. Valentin says that between Christmas and New Year’s it was wall-to-wall people.
The best snorkeling was on the way out from the hidden beach back to the panga, with a lot of fish swimming around our panga. But we had other places to go so we didn’t get a lot of snorkeling time.
Next, we went around the rest of the island’s shore to see the blue-footed booby (click here to read more) and some other fun rocks, turquoise water and waves.
Then back to Punta de Mita – and to our delight the dolphins came out to play! There were several and at one point after we thought they moved on, three showed up directly under our boat. Of course, the camera was already packed away so you’ll have to take my word for it.
What could top all that? Why of course, a nice lunch on the beach with our toes dug into the sand. We even had entertainment (click on the picture or the caption for the video):
They played for a minute or two then the kid immediately worked the crowd for tips. It’s got to be one of the best gigs on the beach, way more profitable per crowd then selling sunglasses or wrist bands with your name on it.
Then this morning – one of the birds diving for fish right off our port stern was a blue-footed booby. Maybe he was on a tour to check out cruisers in their natural habitat!