From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California
Dec 28, 2012 - National Geographic Sea Bird
Espíritu Santo is one of the most magnificent islands of the Gulf of California. Here is where we spend the day at anchor, finding the perfect refuge from the wind. Ensenada Grande, is one of the most scenic and well protected anchorages, and it also offers great opportunities for many activities.
One of the highlights of this place, only for those that are looking for a real physical challenge, is the long hike, that our wellness specialist, Amy Sobesky led through a volcanic arroyo. To call this hike a scramble is more appropriate, since there are big boulders to overcome on the way. The rewards at the highest point are not only making it all the way up to a magnificent ridge, but also to admire the breathtaking view.
For the more “civilized” explorers, the shorter walks are great to see many of the desert plants, and even some of the unique animals that live here. Many plants were seen in bloom, and the desert we found today was greener than ever before. The amount of rain that the area has received during the last months, made this place look almost like a tiny jungle in some spots. Cacti and torchwood trees were completely covered by vines. Some of us were lucky to see the endemic black jackrabbit and the unique antelope ground squirrel. Both of these creatures have evolved separately from their mainland relatives, becoming species and subspecies of their own. On the way back we shared our stories of walking through the desert with William Lopez-Forment. We joined him in search of creepy-crawlies and elusive plant species, like the pencil cactus.
We offered snorkeling and Zodiac cruising as interesting additions to our land explorations. It is quite amazing how we can experience the desert so close to the sea. It is like massive contradiction to see the water-deprived biome of the Sonoran Desert literally surrounded by water. There is absolutely no other place like the Gulf of California.