Sea Lions, Hiking, and Beachside Bonfires

Our Un-Cruise Adventure through Mexico's Sea of Cortes really hit its stride today. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Our Un-Cruise Adventure through Mexico’s Sea of Cortes really hit its stride today. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

March 6, 2014

Imagine the sound of dozens of sea lions barking, and you’ll have some idea of the atmosphere out on the open decks this morning aboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Voyager, as we arrived at our anchorage off Baja Mexico’s Los Islotes.

Un-Cruise Adventures' Safari Voyager arrives off the calm waters of Los Islotes this morning. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Voyager arrives off the calm waters of Los Islotes this morning. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Located near La Paz, Los Islotes is a group of islets notable for its abundant sea lion population and crystal-clear waters that are perfectly suited to snorkelers. In fact, Lonely Planet says Los Islotes is also an ideal location for scuba divers, thanks to a network of underwater caves and various offshore shipwrecks in the nearby waters.

A light continental breakfast was served in The Lounge this morning in place of breakfast to allow guests to hit the Zodiacs early. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

A light continental breakfast was served in The Lounge this morning in place of breakfast to allow guests to hit the Zodiacs early. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Because it’s so close to La Paz, Los Islotes can become crowded with tourist boats as the day progresses, so the Expedition Team aboard the Safari Voyager kicked things off early this morning, with the first of several snorkeling shore excursions departing the vessel at 7:30a.m.

Safari Voyager's first zodiac of snorkelers heads ashore. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Safari Voyager’s first zodiac of snorkelers heads ashore. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

To accommodate this, a light continental breakfast was offered in The Lounge on Deck 3 that came complete with yogurt, fresh fruit, oatmeal, cereals, toast, bagels, and of course tea, coffee and juices. Full breakfast in the Restaurant on Deck 1 was changed to Brunch to be offered at 10:30a.m., following our morning adventures at Los Islotes. Lunch was skipped, and dinner was served 30 minutes early at 6:30pm. But with all the activity we were doing, I found myself extraordinarily hungry in the afternoon – so much so that I decimated a half-container of pretzels at the bar during Happy Hour.

Sea lions play in front of Un-Cruise Adventures' Safari Voyager. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Sea lions play in front of Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Voyager. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Snorkelling with the sea lions was, by far, the most popular excursion offered this morning. The sea lions are playful but can be slightly aggressive. Like small children or puppies, they are highly excitable and tend to enjoy physical contact. This means that snorkelers can be knocked around by them quite a bit, and nearly everyone was the recipient of a few nips and play bites.

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Snorkeling is a bit lost on me because I need glasses to see properly; without them, everything’s a blur. My Nikon also doesn’t get along with seawater too well, so I opted instead to take the guided Zodiac tour of Los Islotes to see the sea lions.

It turned out to be just as good as snorkeling: the waters surrounding Los Islotes are so clear that you can lean over the zodiac to admire the rocks and coral below. In fact, I frequently quit watching the sea lions in order to catch a glimpse of a starfish-covered rock or to admire the brightly-coloured fish swimming just beneath our craft.

The waters off Los Islotes are so clear, we were able to watch fish swimming underneath our Zodiac. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The waters off Los Islotes are so clear, we were able to watch fish swimming underneath our Zodiac. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The sound sea lions make when they bark is something like a nymphomaniac choking on a grapefruit. Some sound like warning cries, while others more closely resemble grunts of extreme satisfaction. When put together, they create this cacophony of sound that can be heard from all sides of Los Islotes. Add in the squawking of the birds that have decorated the reddish rocks rising from the sea with a few dozen coats of pearl white guano, and you have the recipe for a place that’s totally unique in its sight, sound and smell.

The striking landscape of Los Islotes. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The striking landscape of Los Islotes. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Sea Lions basking in the sun. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Sea Lions basking in the sun. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Voyager continues tomorrow with our final day of exploration here in Baja Mexico as we cruise off Gordo Banks en-route to Los Cabos. Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

One Response to Safari Voyager Live Voyage Report – Day 6

  1. Alexander says:

    Bonjour/Greetings Aaron

    As always its a pleasure reading your trip reports and viewing your great photos.

    As for scuba/snorkeling I understand full well your situation since I too wear glasses and without them everything underwater is a huge blurr.
    However there are solutions! Those who pratice the sport seriously will have special corrected lens fitted into their dive masks but that can be expensive. My suggestion would be to visit a dive shop and search out the brand MARES and their model X-vision that can be fitted with interchangeable lens to sort of match your vision loss. I have been using this Mares concept since many years and its simply grand since now I can properly view the coral and marine life. May you continue to enjoy a super voyage onboard the Safari Voyager.

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