My lifelong friend (literally known him from the day I was
born), his wife and one adult child each were going on a live aboard
dive boat for a week in the Sea of Cortez. Well, one son opted out at
the last minute so I got the invite 1 day before we left. We jumped on a plane and headed east from Los Angeles to Phoenix
From there we had a four hour van ride which included a passage across a
raging river with a washed out bridge in Mexico, I think I'd of
preferred a kayak but we got across. From there it was an interesting drive through some beautiful desert. And on to our departure port "Puerto Penesco", a small shrimping town at the north end of The Sea of Cortez. Everyone was working hard although not everyone was "shrimping".
So we climbed aboard and headed out on the 110 foot "Rocio Del Mar"
The scenery was quite spectacular!
The hillsides had amazing colors, a geologists dream I would guess.
So we spent our days in the water and after dinner we sailed all night many nights, to awaken to new scenery.
We spent two days playing with the sea lions, they were very playful and
great to swim with. I borrowed a little Cannon 880 in an underwater
housing and shot my first underwater photos.
Well, they were all playful and friendly EXCEPT the bulls. The
divemaster said when they swim in front of you blowing bubbles, they are
marking their territory and we would regret getting them angry. At 700
lbs, I had to agree.
Oh, I forgot to mention, all but a few of the other 19 passengers were
SERIOUS underwater photographers. I'll link a couple at the end. Must
have been $250,000 worth of underwater camera gear of all varieties.
To have them come over you at night it looked like "Close Encounters" with strong video lights and blinking LED's everywhere.
After the sea lions we spent an entire day chasing sperm whales, we had 2
"pangas" full of photographers, all with snorkel gear in the hopes of
not scaring them. While they were all in and out of the water hoping
for great underwater shots, I remained in the inflatable with my D800.
It turns out *I* was the only one with pictures of the sperm whales.
They were very bashful and all the underwater guys had super wide
fisheyes in the hopes of getting the entire whale. It left me with my
70-200 and a glimpse here and there.
From there it was off to find whale sharks. They are not really whales,
not mammals, but they are sharks that are HUGE, the lagrest fish in the
sea. We got a little company along the way.
Even a bird or two joined us
We got to the bay with the whale sharks and weren't disappointed, they
were plentiful, so back in the Pangas. A local brought a third launch
and lots of local knowlege.
So they feed in the morning and in the glassy water we all just looked for fins....no shortage
How big are they?
How big? Big enough to put smiles on faces,
How big? Really big!!
Unfortunately I didn't bring a CPL filter so the surface shots could
have been better. I relied on others to get the good underwater shots, I
was very happy just swimming with these gentle giants.
Dan's son Alex was jumping for joy....
If you haven't bailed out from boredom, you can get more on my free Flickr account HERE. Eventually I'll put them all together someplace, only 200 allowed on the free account (a break for you)
Along with the talented Ron Watkins www.scubarews.com , Lea Lee was along and is an amazing photographer often published in Dive magazines. She has a few shots from our trip HERE on Flickr
Thanks for enduring my post, if you got this far....:)