05 January 2010 | 21 50.532'N:105 52.915'W, Isla Isabela
We're currently in this little slice of heaven that's called Isla Isabela. It's a national park because there are gazillions of seabirds. Frigate birds and Blue-footed Boobies nest here by the tens of thousands, and there's a bunch of other birds thrown in for good measure. The island is covered in flat-topped tress that are about 8 ft tall, and each and every one has two or three nests in it. Often the same tree with have nests of both Boobies and Frigate birds.
The volleyball net in the photo is part of a very run-down research station that was built in 1980. Typical of Mexico it was quite a structure in its day, with a big conference area, bird cages, sleeping areas, multiple bathrooms and shower stalls. There's even a solar system. But also typical of Mexico it doesn't appear to have seen any maintenance since the day it was built. That's exactly what we found at the run-down but well operated hospital that stiched up Marcus a few years ago. It seems they forget to include a maintenance budget with their capital programs. Now the research center's accomodations consist of a tent erected inside the building. However it is still used and the University of Guadalajara does a bunch of science out of here.
This island is also surrounded by whales. We can see their blowhole spouts in every direction out in the ocean between here and the mainland. There's a mother and calf who swim by a couple times each day close enough that I could hit them with a baseball. I'm not too good at identifying whales yet, but I'd say they must be Humpbacks or Minkes. They have a small dorsal fin, very black looking skin and the underside of their flukes are mottled white. Maybe someone can narrow it down for me?
A couple nights ago I was woken up at 2:30 am by the sound of a blowhole right beside the boat (it was that loud). I got up and went on deck and watched a small whale (only 25 ft or so!) swim around our anchored boat and then back out to sea. It was an amazing sight in the light of a full moon.
We've seen so many whales here that we've gotten a bit blase about them. This morning I saw our usual mother and calf swim by and called down "whales!" from the cockpit. Mel and boys heard me and didn't bother to move. :) I love the fact that they've become that common.
That's all for now. This evening we head out for a short overnight sail to La Cruz. That'll probably be our base for the Puerto Vallarta area.