Paradise in the Sea Caves

Trip Start Oct 26, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Mexico  , Baja California Sur,
Saturday, June 19, 2010

After being in the marina at Santa Rosalia for about a week, we were ready to get away from the docks and see something new. There was a small island just outside of Santa Rosalia that turned out to be quite a little sleeper.  We had no idea that just 8 miles offshore, we would find a little piece of paradise, San Marcos Island. 

Sweet Pea anchorage was on the west side of the island and offered protection from the winds and had a small reef nearby.  Bruce and Foster decided to go check out the reef for fishing opportunities.  They returned shortly to grab the fishing gear and set off on an adventure.  Within a short time, they returned to the mother ship with 5 decent sized fish; plenty for Steve's famous beer-battered fish tacos!  The master chef came over from Blackdragon and gave fillet lessons to anyone who wanted to watch.  Seeing that it was Foster’s 12th birthday the following day, we decided to host a pot-luck dinner aboard GatoGo for all of the boats in the anchorage.  After a tasty dinner, we ended up on the beach for a bonfire and had birthday cake and s’mores!

The winds were forecasted to shift on Foster’s birthday, so we all raised our anchors and headed over to the north side of the island for better protection.  This side of the island had a handful of sea caves that were worth exploring.   A few of the caves were large enough to take our dinghys in.  This turned out to be a very relaxing spot to spend time during the mid-day heat.     One of the caves in particular turned out to be our favorite for a number of different reasons.  First being that there was a pebble beach inside the cave that provided shade protection from the sun.  Buried within the pebbles   we found numerous beautiful shells highlighted by cowries that appeared man-made due to their high luster and gloss finish.  On the ceiling of the cave was a central opening, or oculus, to the heavens similar to the Pantheon in Rome.   Bruce and Foster donned in snorkel gear, skimmed under an area of the cave wall that provided just a few inches of clearance over the water.   Once on the outside of the cave, they were able to careen up the rocks and found the skylight.  Unfortunately, the water depth below was only a few feet and the adventurers had to find an alternative place to go jumping from the rocks into the refreshing cool water.  After finding a substitute jumping platform, Bruce and Foster returned to the lazy beach bums to muster up interest for other plungers.  It wasn’t too difficult to find candidates as people wanted to cool off.   We ended up spending 3 relaxing afternoons in the caves.  I would definitely say that this is one of the prettiest anchorages that we have come across so far in our 8-months journey. 

Along with us in the anchorage was a new boat, Eyoni.   We heard stories of how Ethan was a reputable free diver and a member of the elite Neptune Club.  Apparently he could free dive to depths of well over 150 feet and hold his breath for close to 5-minutes.  This is quite a feat and opened up vast opportunities for him in spearfishing; after all, the deeper one dives, the larger the fish selection.  Ethan agreed to amuse us and go out fishing with us.   We took our dinghies out to a nearby island that was just big enough to house a navigation light to warn boaters of the obstruction in the water.  Tracey was a bit skeptical to get in the water after hearing a nearby sealion barking, however, she soon got over her fears.  Ethan quickly disappeared into the depths of the ocean and soon emerged with some absolutely beautiful fish.  His prize catch was a leopard grouper in its golden phase.  Obviously he had done this before, as the fish were quickly gutted before they were placed in the dinghy.   Bruce was dealing with a broken speargun, so his fishing was cut short.  Craig came up with a nice spotted grouper catch using the Hawaiian sling and Foster landed a decent barracuda using his dad’s speargun. 

For Foster’s 12th birthday, Craig and I decided to take Foster SCUBA diving.  Well, Craig ended up staying with Steve and Tracey as Bruce and Foster journeyed under water.  Foster got a quick review lesson of the equipment and hand signals right off the back steps of GatoGo where we also made sure that his weight was properly neutrally buoyant.  He was very excited; we were ready to go.  We had a great dive with a bottom time of a little over 1 hour.  During the dive, we saw eel, octopus, coral, and of course tons of fish.  Most important of all, Foster had a great time on the dive and it was something special to make his 12th birthday a memorable one.  Bruce quickly downloaded the photos/videos from the dive to make a commemorative movie for his birthday buddy. 

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Gail Chapin on

This looked like so much fun. Love seeing Savannah using her life jacket as a pillow!

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