This was our final day at the Revillagigedo Islands. We started in the anchorage at Isla Soccoro. We went around the east side of the island looking for birds and whatever we could find. We saw a few boobies and some Wedge-tailed shearwaters that nest on Isla San Benedicto.
We travelled the 25 miles to Isla San Benedicto and went to the east side of that island to look for the tropicbirds. We saw two red-tailed tropicbirds which was a highlight for the bird team. Unfortunately due to a large swell, we couldn’t land on the island. We sent a skiff in to look for a spot to snorkel but there were sharks around and we wanted to keep everyone safe. We did see a giant Manta ray and we put a few people in the water but it swam away and the reef sharks gathered, so everyone got out of the water.
We had a back deck BBQ buffet with ribs, mac and cheese, corn bread, coleslaw and brownies with margaritas. After dark was a “Searcher Shark Show” with at least 50 sharks around the boat feeding on needle fish and flying fish. There were also bottlenose dolphin feeding on flying fish. It was the highlight of the day.
We are headed to Cabo tonight and arriving Thursday morning.
We arrived yesterday to Isla Soccorro. There’s a photo of the pier and bay where we go ashore.
The ride here was pretty good with light winds and a rolling sea. We noticed lots of birds as we approached: Boobies, Brown noddies, Sooty terns, and Cook’s petrels associated with bottlenose dolphins. Once we got the anchor down in front of the navy base and pier, we went through a detailed inspection. Once that was completed we were able to go ashore.
The bird team is looking for the endemic mockingbird, Soccorro wren, and Red-tailed hawk. The plant team found some new records and the insect team set some traps to be looked at tomorrow. (Insect team organizing their Isla Clarion collections at a galley table on board.)
Last night’s dinner by chef Josh was a pork loin with wild rice, veggie medley and an apple-thyme demiglaze that was delicious!
Today was our last day at Isla Clarion. We had a few hours this morning and so everyone went ashore. We picked up people that stayed overnight. It was a successful stay with five new plant records and one new plant not seen before, so the plant team was very happy.
The insect team also had some success and the land snail researcher found the last snail recorded, along with two new possible land snails never reported before.
We left the island and circled it so everyone could see the fantastic rock formation known as Monument Rock. We are headed to Isla Soccorro.
We spent another day at Isla Clarion and I had a chance to go ashore, which is a first for me. What a great spot!
I went to the navy base, walked around and then headed for the beach. I saw the endemic raven, wren and mourning dove, along with three Laysan albatrosses. Two were nesting and one was flying around. There was evidence of sea turtle nests with tracks from the water up the beach. We saw green sea turtles in the bay as we approached the island. I also spotted the endemic iguana on shore.
So far the researchers are having success with their objectives here at the Revillagigedos islands. There will be a full report with findings after the trip returns. One scientist is here to re-sight the five different species of land snails. No one has looked for them since the original study done by Cal Academy of Science in 1927. He is sure he has found all five. This is great stuff for science.
We will spend the morning here and then travel to Isla Soccorro on Saturday .
We arrived to Isla Clarion yesterday and were able to get everyone ashore easily. The Mexican Navy was very helpful and they were happy to get some cold sodas and some new soccer balls. We witnessed a soccer game later that day!
Reports from researchers sounded like a success with good plant sightings and plenty of insects to survey. Part of the group came back for a snorkel session that was awesome. We found lots of fish and a few sharks (white tips and black tips). Sixteen passengers went back to the island with dinner to-go for camping on the beach. We had bottlenose dolphins around the boat last night chasing and eating flying fish. Here are some photos of the landing place below the navy base, the snorkel spot and the old guy driving a skiff with campers returning for breakfast.
We are arriving at Isla Clarion this morning and are seeing lots of boobies as we approach. The bird team is busy so far.
Everyone is very excited to be at our first island. Yesterday the group shared presentations and meetings about logistics. They each inspected their gear so that any bits of plants or dirt are removed and not transferred to a remote island where exotic species could be damaging. Most of the researchers will spend tonight on the island in order to assess species active during nocturnal and dawn hours.
The weather is overcast and the seas are calm with light winds. We are here for 2.5 days and then we will travel to Isla Soccorro.
We departed yesterday from Cabo San Lucas with 24 researchers aboard. There are eight Mexican and 16 US/Canadian researchers aboard along with two representatives from the Mexican reserve. Their research interests cover birds, plants, marine mammals, insects, and ecology of these remote islands.
We are headed to Isla Clarion first for three days, and then to Isla Socorro for two days and then a partial day at Isla San Benedicto. These scientists are returning to the islands to follow up on plant, bird and insect surveys from a previous trip a few years ago.
Today the birders had a great morning with loads of Cooks petrels, Leach’s storm petrels and a few Sooty shearwaters. The Cook’s petrels are migrating north from New Zealand after breeding there–an incredibly long migration. We have also seen some bottlenose dolphins.
We have an acoustic array towing behind the boat–about 200 ft back–recording sounds as we travel. They hope to hear sounds from whales, and in particular, a beaked whale species that frequents these waters.
Our photos from travel day are of the birders on Searcher’s flybridge, the line off the stern for the acoustic array and a meeting in the galley reviewing logistics for our stay on Isla Clarion.
We had another great day here in Baja off Bahia Magdelena. We had wind and a big swell, however we found lots of wild life. We had a “mega-pod” of dolphins that surfed the wake and stayed around the boat for a long time. Then we found some Bryde’s whales that were very easy to observe. Three of them were grouped up and stayed right on the surface. We found humpbacks which were travelling very fast so we didn’t spend too much time with them.
We had a long afternoon not seeing much, then we found some blue whales late in the day. There were two different areas. I think we saw between 12-15 of them this evening, including a couple of whales that showed their flukes, a mother and calf pair, and some lunge feeders. And we added a fin whale to our list for the day!
We had another nice day in Laguna San Ignacio today. We started the morning in the mangroves for the birders. We did two midday whale watching trips after the mangroves. The mother and calf pairs wanted to play again today! Everyone got close to a whale again today so spirits are high. The wind came up in the afternoon so we opted for an afternoon beach walk for our last trip of the day to look at the shells and the whale and dolphin bones. We got across the bar just before sunset and we are on our way to Bahia Magdelena right now.
We got across the sandbar at the entrance to the lagoon this morning and started seeing gray whales right away. The numbers are lower as they begin their migration back north, but the mothers and calves here are friendly!
We are hoping for some more of that tomorrow. We’re going to start at the mangroves in the morning for some birdwatching.