We wanted to snorkel with sea lions. This was one of the reasons we journeyed south through Baja.
On Monday morning we boarded the boat with other snorkelers and kayakers, heading for Isla del Carmen in hopes of sighting the sea lions.
About fifteen minutes into the overcast morning, we were greeted by a pod of porpoises. They darted through the water a little over fifty feet away. Some passed under the boat and resurfaced on the other side.
We took our mammal friends’ greeting as a sign of good fortune.
Soon we were dropping the kayakers off on a spit of sandy beach caressed by lapping turquoise and green water.
On our way again, we rounded a rocky point while waving to local fisherman. They waved back and cast big smiles to us along with their nets to the sea.
And there they were. Four to six sea lions barked as we approached their rock porch by the sea. They waddled and tossed their heads back and forth. Quickly, they floundered into the water.
Except for one.
We fixed our masks, snorkels and fins as rapidly as we could, hoping to see the last one under water.
We jumped in. So did the sea lion. In a matter of seconds she swam by in simple grace and beauty. She moved with elegance towards the dark abyss, uninterested in us and our selfish pursuit of witnessing a wild sea lion in the water.
Despite a little disappointment, we continued snorkeling in the sixty-eight degree Sea of Cortez water. We saw three kinds of star fishes and multitudes of fish.
Chilled to the bones and satisfied with what we saw, we boarded the boat and waited for the others.
The sun was warm. The sky was clear blue. It was a perfect combination for a nice sunburn.
After a while, the porpoises returned. They swam around the point and put on an acrobatic show. Jumping through the air and darting at surface level, we witnessed another of nature’s wonderful spectacles.
Yet we were not done.
As we were finishing up the day, our guide spotted a spout of water shooting into the sky along the distant horizon.
We spotted a fin back whale still wintering in the warm waters. And then another spout appeared behind the first one. We saw two fin back whales!!!
A great day it was. But I still wanted to do one more thing.
Our guide pulled the boat up next to a rocky cliff and said that it was safe to jump from above.
I jumped into the water and swam over to the cliff. I scrambled my way up the sharp precipice and scouted a perch amongst the dive-bombing sea gulls.
With my right foot planted firmly and my left only partially, I dove into the water below…once again understanding “flow”.
(written 13 May 2001)