December 31, 2008
Jacaranda Passage Note #29: A Special Revillagigedos New Years
Happy New Year and our wishes for a healthy and happy 2009!!!
We are starting the New Year with a special adventure: spending the holidays off the beaten track in the remote Revillagigedos Archipelago swimming with giant manta rays. These four isolated offshore islands 220 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, known as the Mexican Galapagos, is a pristine marine wilderness famous for "big animal" diving, especially these giant manta rays. Few people ever venture out here.
These islands are of volcanic origin and San Benedicto (which is the one closest to Baja California where we are now) actually erupted in 1952. The island is totally inhospitable and barren and we are protected from NE winds by a dramatic lava delta which oozed out of a small vent at the bottom of the huge cinder cone. It is pretty rolly here where we are anchored next to our friends Scott and Cindy on svBEACH HOUSE.
We have been having one of the peak experiences of our lives swimming with these giant mantas with wingspans of up to 20 feet. We go out twice a day and cavort with these gentle giants, often giving them belly rubs and even going for rides!! They are magnificent creatures. We'll be in the water when all of a sudden out of the deep blue comes this giant B-52 with graceful pointed wings flapping like a prehistoric bird in slow motion - winging its way right toward us..... They are very intelligent, playful, and seem to genuinely enjoy their contact with us. They often follow us back to our boats as if asking to continue our play.
Big animals also include sharks (so there are no night dives here), 200-pound tunas and whalesharks.
Water tempuratures have been 80 degrees and will drop to 72 - 74 soon -- which is OK because that's when the humpback whales and their babies show up. In fact a few years ago, friends of ours on svOREA witnessed a humpback birth right next to their boat.
Scott is an award winning amateur photographer and has taken some amazing imagery (still and video) of our experiences together with the mantas. Until we can post some, here are some videos from the web, which show similar footage of the giant mantas:
We'll write more of our manta ray adventures in our next passage note.
We plan to stay here until late January - then we will sail east to the Mexican mainland.