Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mexico's Inside Passage

     Two weeks ago I drove to Phoenix and met up with 17 SCUBA divers (total strangers) to dive the Sea of Cortez for one week in a liveaboard boat.  All my previous dives were in Caribbean waters, so this dive in Pacific waters was a new experience for me. Two vans/trailers hauled us and our gear to Puerto PeƱasco, Mexico to board our boat

Tropical Storm Lidia was exiting the area, so we had to postpone our departure time for 12 hours.

     I've titled this post "Mexico's Inside Passage" because the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) is as scenic but in a different way as Alaska's Inside Passage. Take a look at the terrain near two of our dives.

     We cruised the mountainous upper portion of the Gulf of California, but the lower portion is just as mountainous.

This area is sparsely populated and very rocky.

In the middle of nowhere, a rocky monolith! Suspect it's about 400 feet high.

Always a surprising view.

We dived at the base of this rocky island (below photo).

Sunrise on the rocks is spectacular.

Waited a few minutes for this fleeting shot . . .

Very rocky and very mountainous . . .

Not much vegetation; succulents and cacti.

Sunsets were spectacular.

Couldn't decide which sunset to share, so will share them all.

This cloud at sunset looks like a UFO, eh?

This is a western sky at sunset . . . 

But the eastern sky at sunset was sometimes just as beautiful.

Looks like a distant rain shower, but it didn't rain on us.

Another sunrise . . .

The regular morning shows never got boring. 

Evening shows didn't get boring either.

     Now y'all understand the title of this post, eh? Oops, forgot to mention our friends the brown boobies which accompanied us.

     My roommate Brandee (below photo) is a Californian; most of the group lives in California. She brought a DVD of "Sea Hunt" episodes for us to watch since many of us were highly influenced by this 1950s syndicated TV show.

     Four times each day (beginning at 7 AM), we boarded a raft in three groups spaced 15 minutes apart to go diving for an hour. 

I was in good company!

      Judy and Mac (photo below) got together about 15 years ago online; each was looking for a dive partner and they got lucky.

     Connie (below right) and her Mom, Edie, have been diving and training together since Edie became certified at age 58 (she's 74 now).

The grandest lady is Eva, who will be 79 on October 3 next month.

And the baby of our group? Marco (on right) is 47 years old. Blaine (on left) is 60 years old.

Saw two Orca Whales!

I switched to video mode on my camera . . . the tail slapping orca whale was about 50 yards away from our boat.

     Besides diving, we all got a chance to snorkel with a whale shark (click here for Marco's wonderful video). I swam/snorkeled for about 80 yards a few feet above a whale shark that was probably at least 25 feet long. They are amazing gentle giants.

     And diving with sea lions was a first time for me (click here for Marco's video of sea lions). They are similar to playful puppies, always doing something cute. Big ones, medium ones, and little ones diving all around us human divers. One nipped and tugged a diver's fin to get a reaction. Right in front of me, two seals did a 69-position by grabbing each other's tail (there's a tiny tail between the back fins) and played "ring around the rosy", swimming fast circles while still holding onto each others' tails! They'd zoom around like torpedoes sometimes (twisting, turning their bodies, very acrobatic), and several zoomed within inches of my mask to see who would flinch first, me or them; one showed his teeth, laughing at me I hope! I'd laugh at them often but with a regulator in my mouth, had to stifle my laugh!

     Watched an octopus re-arrange shells at the opening of his/her lair. Didn't see the entire octopus; they're very elusive in their hide-outs. Saw a couple of turtles too (click here for Marco's video of turtle). Saw a couple of green moray eels at the openings of their lairs, too. 

     Marco graciously agreed to share his Instagram underwater photos since I don't want to bother with an underwater camera (click here).

     And last but not the least of all the exciting moments, a full moon!

Another shot a bit later with a glass of wine.


  1. Nice report. Thanks, T. Great videos by Marcos.

  2. Absolutely terrific topside photos....even the one of the "online couple".....loved this blog.
    Judy and Mac

  3. Wonderful photos! Loved the full moon shots, especially the one with the glass of wine! :)

  4. Absolutely gorgeous photography