The morning held new experience and great adventure for the guests aboard National Geographic Venture. California sea lions hauled out on the rocks of Los Islotes and swam through the surrounding waters. As the first snorkelers were about to enter the water, one of the sea lions decided to enter the boat, gracefully leaping onto the bow of the Zodiac and spending about 15 minutes on board. After the sea lion went back into the water, the snorkelers followed suit. Once in the water, snorkelers found a variety of fish below the surface and playful sea lions darted and leapt around them. Zodiac tours looked at the sea lions on shore and searched the volcanic rocks, finding turkey vultures, brown pelicans, brown boobies, and blue-footed boobies.
The wildlife continued to be plentiful on our way north from Los Islotes to Isla San Jose. Bow-riding bottlenose dolphins accompanied the vessel for part of the cruise. Gulls searched for easy prey that was trying to escape the dolphins and frigate birds dipped down towards the water in order to steal some food away from the dolphins and gulls.
The afternoon held adventurous hikes to the end of the arroyo, while other walks observed the area through the lens of a camera or talked about the natural history of the area and stopped to take a closer look at the smaller details of the island. After the recent rains in the area, the arroyo at Mangle Solo on Isla San Jose was vibrant with life – from flowers to deciduous tree leaves to fruits. The night culminated with a delicious beach barbeque and bonfire with s’mores. An incredible sunset illuminated the mountains of the peninsula in brilliant purple and orange light. One could not have asked for a more perfect day in the Sea of Cortez.