We pulled into Loreto a few nights ago and have been here since. Although at first we didn’t take to the town at all (we came in at the tail end of a wind storm at a time when the RV park we stayed at that night was surrounded by loud cars, non-stop barking dogs and roosters crowing on and on despite it being early evening), at this point we have fallen in love with this area. Joe and Julie, our hosts, on whose property we are staying, are absolutely wonderful. We are really enjoying getting to know them and spending time with them.
We have parked our tent trailer on their property which lies about three miles out of town on a sand/dirt road. It’s a beautiful water-front compound and we feel like the luckiest people on earth to get to stay here. We’ve entered a sweet routine of spending as much time as possible in the water during the day, sharing a meal with our hosts in the evening, going to sleep early and waking up to watch the sunrise over the water, which can be seen from our bed.
Jacques Cousteau once called the Sea of Cortez, “The aquarium of the world.” I’ve never been anywhere that is so abundant with marine life. Terra is ecstatic about how much there is to see in the water here. She is learning a lot about what lives in this area and we have already seen a significant percentage of the known species of fish here (we have an identification book for the area that we are logging our sightings into).
Yesterday Joe and Julie took us out on their boat so that we could go scuba diving. We went to Isla Coronado, a relatively small volcanic island just a few minutes boat ride from their house. This was to be our first dive since we were certified three weeks ago without being under the protective wing of our dive instructor (fantastic Diver Dave from Rogue SCUBA). We felt a little nervous about entering the ocean on our own and chose a safe little cove on the south side of the island that was far enough from the massive sea lion colony that they would hopefully not come too close to us. The dive turned out to be outstanding. We entered an underwater spectacle of tropical fish, back-dropped by ancient lava flows.
After diving, we went to a shallow cove on the other side of the island that held perfectly aqua-blue water and white sandy beaches. The only other times I’ve seen water and sand like that was in the Caribbean. We snorkeled around, digging for coveted ‘chocolate’ clams and saw tons more fish along the shallow rock reefs. I felt reassured knowing that there is someplace on this planet that still has an abundance of aquatic species.
Shortly upon our return to Joe and Julie’s house, we heard Joe yelling for us to go to the beach because he had spotted a sea turtle. Sea turtles are my favorite marine species and my one real wish for this trip had been to spot one at some point. I was beside myself when I saw that in fact a very large sea turtle was just 10’ or so from shore and swimming right towards us. It was about 4’ long and likely weighed hundreds of pounds. We soon realized that perhaps something was wrong with it because it didn’t submerge when it saw us. Terra, Andrew, Julie and I got into the water with it to see what was going on. The turtle was unafraid and came right up to us and at one point was so close to me that I backed away not sure if it would bite.
Terra named the turtle ‘Marvin’ after a friend of ours. We swam with Marvin for about half and hour. His shell looked ancient and like he had traveled the seven seas over his lifetime. Once in a while he would raise his head and look at us with his green eyes then put his head back in the water and keep swimming. His pace was quite slow and we didn’t get the sense that he was distressed with us being with him. We actually followed him out a ways into the channel because we were worried that he would get run over by a boat since he wasn’t submerging at all. We created a buffer zone around him to protect him. After a while though, we came back in to shore.
We watched Marvin over the course of about three hours that evening and not once did we see him go down. We hope he’s OK. When we spoke to the scuba shop owner he said that three other turtles have been spotted doing the same thing since September. Perhaps it’s Marvin each time, we don’t really know. I tried to identify what species he is while I was online but wasn’t able to do so because I didn’t have the photos of him in front of me. If you have any ideas of what species he is or why he was behaving in such an odd manner, let me know!