During our expeditions, we go to some of the most remote and unique places on the planet. Today we visited Isla San Pedro Martir, the most remote island in the Gulf of California. This is one of the jewels of the remarkably productive Midriff Island region; it is home to the largest colonies of blue-footed and brown boobies known to the world. Upon our morning approach, the pre-dawn light showed swirling shadows of birds on the wing as they came to and from the looming island ahead of us. We have looked forward to this day with excitement and anticipation, which only grew as we drew nearer.
For the morning, we took to our Zodiacs to circumnavigate the island and surrounding islets. The cliffs of the island stood far overhead, capped with a forest of Cardon cactus and painted white from accumulated guano. Seemingly endless seabirds circled about, dotting every available surface of the island. Many flew close overhead, and others gave us up-close views of their roosts and perches. Getting such intimate looks at these wandering seabirds is truly a special experience.
Not to be outdone by the birds, California sea lions vocalized loudly as they displayed on the rocks. The young ones set off in our wake, swimming quickly alongside us and jumping into the air. As if it was a competition, soon thereafter we happened upon a large pod of bottlenose dolphins. These streamlined cetaceans put on an amazing show, porpoising far out of the sea and riding the bow of our Zodiacs. When we thought the wildlife couldn’t possibly get better, a single gray whale showed up, spouting and cruising near the island’s shore. Diving multiple times in our view, it showed its mottled flukes to the delight of all.
During the afternoon, we searched for wildlife at sea and listened to presentations about the region. A pair of very active humpback whales put on quite the show for us before dinner. Another gorgeous sunset capped off this phenomenal day and cemented San Pedro Martir in our memories. Tomorrow awaits, and we are prepared to receive it.