Steve’s Sojourns Sailing the Sea of Cortes
The Sea of Cortes or The Gulf of Baja is one of the worlds richest seas in terms of nutrients and the wildlife it attracts. So rich in fact that the at sunsets the rays of the sun turn the water a deep rich red colour giving rise to its other name “The Wine red Sea”.
I had travelled there with Un-Cruise Adventures, the company call themselves this because they do not see themselves as a typical cruise line. The cruises are very flexible in what you see and wear on board and at dinner and are focused on delivering superb quality over quantity, wildlife over nightlife and life changing encounters to an evening of broadway style shows.
From day one you are immersed in the amazing wildlife spectacle that is the Sea of Cortes. The sea literally boils with dolphins in their hundreds coming to ride the bow wave, rays and whales breach out of the waves and return to the water with a resounding crash.
In fact for me this cruise started as we banked to land at the airport in Cabo at the southern end of Mexico’s Baja peninsula and looking down I saw three humpback whales cavorting in the clear waters at the end of the runway. It is the whales that most people take this cruise as in the plankton rich, warm waters Grey, Humpback, Pilot and even Blue Whales, the largest creature ever to have lived on the earth are all found.
Our first day saw us landing on the pure white sands of the island of Espiritu Santo and it was from this beach that we set off on our first snorkelling safari. The snorkelling has to be some of the finest anywhere and once I got my confidence as I realised my wet suit issued on the ship along with flippers and snorkel would keep me afloat I just lay on the surface watching the stunning colours of the fish and coral below.
Activities on this cruise are not just confined to below the waves, kayaking in and out of hidden bays and sea caves, paddle boarding and hiking plus riding mules in the cacti strewn desert are also on offer. It may be called a desert but it is full of life from shimmering emerald green humming birds to multi coloured lizards scurrying across the dirt tracks in front of you. Various species of cacti ranging in height offer perches to many species of birds and all the times the red headed turkey vultures seem to be coming down to check that you’re still breathing!
This cruise is totally relaxed with you deciding what you would like to do from the many choices on offer every day. You can if you wish just go and do your own thing and be dropped on a secluded beach to explore or sunbathe then when you are ready stand by the waves with your life jacket on and the crew will come and pick you up and take you back to the ship.
The beauty of this cruise is the spontaneity of it all. Once when were boarding the DIB to go onshore at the small fishing hamlet of Aqua Verde the crew spotted some splashes about a mile away and we went to investigate. Soon we were surrounded by rays jumping out of the water all around us. On another occasion similar splashes were seen so off we set in the DIBS to discover a school of some two hundred dolphins which we just sat in the middle of them and watched them leaping, twisting and turning out of the water.
On another occasion the crew decided to set up a bonfire on an isolated beach at night which meant we could lie back and look at the stars dazzling in their intensity as there is no light pollution and as we watched the Milky Way stretching across the sky we had a lecture on the constellations whilst holding an Irish Coffee to help compliment the evening. It said something for their care of the environment that the crew took the remains of the fire away them back to the ship at the end of the evening.
All cabins have TVs and DVD players so you if you don’t feel like going to the evening lecture you take a drink to your cabin and watch one of the many films kept in the library. You are also given a pair of binoculars in your room to watch the wildlife.
A sportsdeck can be raised and lowered at the stern and makes swimming, launching a kayak or paddle board very easy. There is a Dining Room, Wine bar, Library, and underwater camera for viewing the sea world below whilst on the Main Deck, the Salon and Bow Viewing Area provide more places to gather and view the scenery. The Upper Deck features two hot tubs whilst the Sun Deck is home to a bar, and exercise equipment.
If there is one memory I will take away from this cruise it is snorkelling with baby sea lions at the island of Los Islotes a steep rocky outcrop rising straight from the sea. The speed they can move under the water is truly amazing and their desire to play is such that they literally come right up to you and look you in the eyes even touching you with the their flippers encouraging you to get friendly.
It wasn’t just the sea lions here that took my breath away but the cormorants diving down beside you into a shoal of thousands of silver fish that parted to allow the birds through revealing another even large shoal beneath with colours of red and gold partying in their turn to expose the corals with King Angel fish and other species darting in and out of the rocks.
If you can get to the Galapagos come to the Sea of Cortes. You will never forget each wonderful moment.
More Info call 888-862-8881 (US) or visit www.un-cruise.com