Hi divers, Myself and six other Orange County folks in two vehicles departed for the Bahia de los Angeles (Bay of Los Angeles) in Baja, Mexico, on September 29th with the goal of observing and diving with whale sharks. It took us about thirteen hours for the one day drive, but about two of those hours can be attributed to fish taco stands along the way. We arrived at our destination in late afternoon, and were blessed with a spectacular view of the bay while descending the mountains. The trip down was beautiful, as expected, and we even encountered wild burros in the desert and a fox up in a tree.
We found our digs, went out for some more fish tacos, and crashed for the evening. In the morning we witnessed the beauty of the area with the sun coming up over the Sea of Cortez with the local islands in the distance. We used the first day to look around, get our bearings, and hook up with the single local diving operator, Ricardo`s Diving Tours. We scheduled our dives for the next day, and then traveled a bit north to do some snorkeling off the beach. We then returned to our accommodations, and snorkeled some more off our beach. That night we had, you guessed it, fish tacos, and then called it a night to be fresh for diving the next day.
We met up with Ricardo and his son-in-law, Bullone, with their panga the next morning, and SCUBA dove before returning to the bay for wale shark encounters. That is sort of how the remainder of the week went. We either SCUBA dove or snorkeled with whale sharks, and between activities we would anchor in beautiful remote coves for food, drink and water fun. On one day we played with about a half dozen whale sharks, and also saw many finback whales and dolphins. The visibility ranged from 10-30 feet, but that is normal for this time of year, and the water temperatures ranged from low 80sF at the surface to mid 70sF at the bottom.
The SCUBA diving was good, but the whale shark encounters just blew me away. This was my first encounter with these magnificent animals, and I really don`t have words to describe my experience with them. It is just to awesome to describe. There I was right next to a gigantic animal, and the feeling is amazing. You are not supposed to touch them, but I had to just once, and it took all my will power to resist the temptation to just grab a dorsal fin and go for a ride. I was hit in the head once with a tail, but it was a push more than a slap. The power was obvious, and I didn`t mind a little tail.
We finished out the week with a big scallop dinner at Ricardo`s home where we met all of his family, and stuffed ourselves with fresh scallops taken during one of our dives. These scallop shells are dinner plate size, and God were they delicious. They were prepared breaded, cooked in a peanut oil, and a Ceveiche that you can die for. I can`t say enough for the good diving services and great hospitality we received from Ricardo and his family. When I left I felt I was part of the family, and I hope to return soon.
We departed early the morning of October 6th, and arrived home about twelve hours later. The trip again was nice, and the border crossing wasn`t bad. The next day was spent cleaning gear, washing clothes, and going through snail and e-mail. For those of you that want dive details they are generalized below. Ricardo`s web site is www.scubabaja.com, and I would highly recommend him for diving or other tours of the area. Some of my over 800 pictures are on the OC Diving web site at http://www.ocdiving.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=21233
Dive # 1-7
Location: Bahia de los Angeles and surrounding area, Baja[ Mexico
Type of Dive: SCUBA and snorkel from panga
Purpose of Dive: Photography and whale shark encounters
Weather Conditions: Sunny and nice
Swell: None to moderate on last day
Surge: None to slight
Currents: None to heavy
Water Temperature at Surface: Low 80sF
Temperature at Bottom: Mid 70sF
Visibility: 10-30 feet
Maximum Depth: 86 feet
Dive Duration: One hour average
Buddies: Deanne, Larry, Robyn, Nancy and Tom
Comments: God what a great trip!!!