Los Islotes

On Friday afternoon, after dealing with several issues, we were able to head out for another island weekend, hoping the predicted westerly winds would not materialize. These can make the anchorages uncomfortable as they are all open to the west.

There were 3 catamarans in Ensanada del Candelero (otherwise known as Candlestick Cove) which dictated where we were able to anchor. We are learning that they are often charters and may leave in the evenings to head back to La Paz.

We anchored next to this – Roca Monumento , which sits in the middle of the cove.
This wall was on our other side. Unfortunately we were too close for me to get a photo with the full scale of it.
A little hard to see as it was overcast in the morning, but there are two beaches bisected by a rocky prominence which forms the head of the bay.

We spent a lovely calm evening. As we sat on the back deck in the growing darkness of twilight, we were joined by the Turtles. They were quite active around the back of the boat, swimming around and raising their heads, seeming to gaze right at us. We enjoyed talking to them. Later we thought maybe they were wondering what the heck we were doing there.

We slept well in the total quiet, until being awakened at about 1 am with the feeling of being on a hobby horse rocking back and forth. Larry got up to check our location and whether our anchor had dragged. All was well on the anchor alarm, but we proceeded to be awake for much of the rest of the night in a state of drowsy wakefulness – the result of knowing the anchor is well set, the boat is rocking, and several times an hour we’re jerked awake by the knocking, thumping and crashing of waves on the hull, or the voices from a neighbor boat as they pull anchor and flee.

Over coffee, unable to download the weather forecast (a blog post on this coming soon!) but knowing the previous prediction was for at least 24 hours of westerly wind, we decided to weigh anchor.

Approaching Los Islotes.

Some sightseeing was in order, so we headed along the length of Isla Partida to these small islands about a mile offshore called Los Islotes. They host a California sea lion rookery. Once we got close, we could hear the bellowing, barking and general noisiness of the sea lions.

Most of the islands were covered with groups like this.
One of the striking examples of the pink sandstone of the area.
Face up to the weak sunlight.
We had never seen so many sea lions with this tawny golden color.

I’ve learned that California sea lions live in one of five genetically distinct populations along with west coast of the US, Canada and Mexico. There are two distinct populations on the western side in the Pacific, and 3 that divide up the Sea of Cortez into north, central and southern regions. The western groups migrate north outside of their breeding season, but the Sea of Cortez groups do not.

It is possible to swim or dive with the sea lions here and there were a few panga diving groups onsite. It would be a lot of fun, but anchoring and leaving the boat is not recommended in this area, so we didn’t even discuss it. Not to mention the water temperature is currently is in the mid-60s, so a bit cool even for us!

He posed for quite a while looking off into the distance, then leaned over as if to comment to his mate.
The vultures were right at home here too.

On our way south we stopped at tiny bay called Las Cuevitas which is reported to hold a blue-footed booby rookery. It was clearly unoccupied and had very little guano remaining, so seemed like it hasn’t been populated in some time. I later found that their mating season is in the summer, so perhaps they are only at home part of the year. One of my hopes is to see one of these birds up close and get some good photos while we are here in the Sea!

3 thoughts on “Los Islotes”

  1. Gwennie—Your Mom would be so proud…now I’m going to google a blue-footed booby to see what they look like. No doubt that your Mom already knows. Lots of snow in the West Salem Hills, Yahooooooooooo! Aunt Jan

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  2. I’m glad you are underway again and exploring the area. Loved your photos of all the sea lions and learning to tell apart the different subspecies. I’d like to see a blue footed booby too.

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