Neon water and blue boobies

Neon water and blue boobies

We stopped for one last beer with Manny at La Trokería before leaving Mazatlán around 10pm. We had a 95nm trip ahead of us (map), and we wanted to leave the estuary at high tide. Philippe, Keith, and I all stayed alert for our initial departure. With a nearly-full moon and a misty drizzle, we made our way past a few big ships on our path out to sea. As Untangled pushed through the water, the bow waves kicked up the most unreal bioluminescence. It was as if someone had dumped neon green glow sticks into the water. With each wave, the surface sparkled with bright turquoise and lime colors that pulsed into view and then faded as the wave subsided. We all tried to capture it in photos and video, but it was impossible.

My best shot of the blue bioluminescence.

After an hour or so, we established our watch cycle – 2 hours of solo watch followed by 4 hours of sleep – and got to work (or sleep). Since it was dark and we had little wind, we left the sails down. People said we should get ready to motor a lot in Mexico, and they weren’t kidding!

Yuki and me enjoying one of our favorite watch pastimes.

Our first stop was Isla Isabel (or Isla Isabela, depending on your source), a small island where we planned to anchor and explore. As with most islands, it’s a protected national park. It’s called “the Galapagos of Mexico” because there are no natural predators on the island. Our Cruising Guide to Mexico has a picture of a Blue-Footed Booby, a beautiful bird with bright blue feet. I crossed my fingers I’d get to see one. On our approach to Isla Isabel we were surrounded by marine wildlife – surfacing whales, playful dolphins, and jumping Mobula Rays were all spotted nearby.

Philippe and Keith on our approach to Las Monas (the mannequins), two stunning rocks next to Isla Isabel.
Las Monas (You can’t tell from the photo, but this is actually two rocks. The first starts all the way at the left of the photo and slants upward to the first point. It extends all the way along the base of the photo. The second is behind the first and is a taller, more narrow spire. You can only see the top of it in this photo, but it appears as the second tallest point).

We arrived around 2pm and dropped anchor in about 25 feet of water on a sandy/rocky bottom. We’d read that this anchorage has a tendency to “swallow” anchors, so Philippe and Keith put on their snorkeling gear and checked our spot to be sure we were properly set and wouldn’t get the anchor rode wrapped around anything. We were all pretty tired from the overnight passage, so we spent the evening relaxing, reading, making dinner, and playing cards.

The next day, we headed into shore on our hunt for Blue-Footed Boobies. It turns out there’s little hunting to do. In fact, the biggest challenge is not stepping on them! There are thousands of them on the island. Some are guarding their precious eggs, others are moving about. A friendly island tour guide helped us find our way to a hiking path, which we used to walk to the other side of the island. The path was mostly through dense forest, and took us alongside Crater Lake, the caldera of a prehistoric volcano that has since filled with water.

What a stunning anchorage. We anchored on the other side of the island, but the boat you see here is Anna (also a Ha-Ha boat).
Keith hiking along Crater Lake, which is saltier than the ocean! The green color is also real – it actually looks like this!

Throughout the hike we saw tons of Blue-Footed Boobies, iguanas, Brown Boobies, and other sea birds. The birds filled the air with loud squawks and screeches. It was spectacular.

My favorite Blue-Footed Booby couple! These two lovebirds were dancing and nuzzling around each other while I snapped photos.
These two, on the other hand, warned me to keep my distance.
I hope this Booby lies down on her egg soon!
Brown Boobies also have very colorful feet, although it doesn’t come through well in these photos. They are more of a light yellow or green.
A Brown Booby and her little one.
The Frigatebird is amazing! The males inflate this giant red throat during breeding season to attract a mate.
The things we do for love…
A frigatebird with baby.
Little lizzard

After the hike we put on our snorkeling gear and jumped in the cold water to see some fish. I didn’t take the VIRB, so unfortunately we don’t have any photos, but they were amazing! So many colors, shapes, and sizes. We spent an hour or so in the water, then went back to Untangled to warm up and prepare for our next leg. We left Isla Isabel around midnight to time our arrival in San Blas with high tide. We had about 45nm to go, and fell quickly into our 2-on/4-off watch routine (map). We ended up arriving a little early, so we anchored in Matanchen Bay for a couple hours before making our way into the shallow channel where Marina Fonatur is located.

Have you ever seen a captain this handsome before??

2 thoughts on “

Neon water and blue boobies

  1. Such beautiful, colorful wildlife! Love reading your blog, and look forward to your gorgeous photos! Love you guys!

  2. I am in awe of this awesome adventure you are on! Gorgeous pics and such memorable adventures. I’m so happy you both are soaking it all in! I love you!

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