While we were in La Paz, we decided to splurge on a boat trip out to Isla Espiritu Santo. We weren't sure we should spend the money and I was also a little hesitant about how our kids would do on a long boat ride. A few months prior, Poppy and Raphael had been quite adamant they didn't want to ride a boat, but we'd done a little kayaking with them at Bahia Concepcíon and they'd both enjoyed it. Raphael, however, didn't want to go out into deep water so I was really not sure how he would do. In the end, I'm so incredibly glad we went for it. It ended up being the highlight of our trip and the kids all had a fantastic time. It's definitely a day that will live long in our family's memory!
A walk along the malecon the previous day brought us into contact with different outfits selling boat rides. We ended up choosing a smooth talking guide named Mario. He'd lived in the US and spoke excellent English, which was a plus. He also seemed very knowledgeable about the history of the island and the ocean creatures we hoped to see. They booked a boat just for us, and that ended up being really nice. We left La Paz around 9 in the morning and should have been back by 4:30 or 5. As it turned out, it was much later. Things often don't go the way we think they're going to! Read on...
|I was relieved as we started out that the kids seemed comfortable being on the boat. Even little Raphi was fine as we got into deeper water. Not too far out, whale sharks were spotted so we stopped to snorkel with them. Snorkeling is one of my absolute favorite things to do, so I was pretty excited. Erik and I took turns getting in the water with whatever kids wanted to come in. Peregrine and Erik went first, and you can see Peregrine in the above picture, and the shark's fin to the right of him. They were probably about 15 feet long and it was really neat to see them up close. Anytime we were in the water our guide got in too, staying close by and pointing out interesting things we may have missed. After a while Poppy and I got a turn to get in. I wasn't able to get very close to the whale sharks, as you have to swim around to stay close to them and Poppy couldn't really keep up. Regardless, it was neat to be in the water with them, and special to be snorkeling with my girl! Raphi also got in for a few moments. I was so proud of them. I don't think I would have jumped in the ocean with anything called a shark when I was a kid! (Whale sharks are filter feeders and don't pose any threat to humans. But still.)|
NASA/GSFC/METI/Japan Space Systems,and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team
|At the very northern tip of the island there is a cave of sorts and Loreto showed off his skill by maneuvering us through it in spite of the somewhat choppy water. It was only a little unnerving!|
|This tree is known as the Medusa due to its womanly shape and wild, snaky looking "hair". It's a type of wild fig and was growing gracefully on a cliff.|
|The island was formed by volcanic activity and there so many fascinating rock formations. These ones looked like honeycomb.|
|Uh-oh. More trouble. In the late afternoon, when most of the tourist boats had already headed back in, we stopped to snorkel one more time. Because we'd lost time in the morning, we were behind schedule. This time our motor wouldn't start because the battery was dead. Thankfully there was still one other boat nearby, and we were there for quite some time while they helped us out. Finally we were able to get the motor started and begin the hourlong journey back to La Paz. The other boat was going back to a different place, but they stayed nearby as long as they could to make sure we were doing okay. The last half hour or so we were on our own.|
|There was a beautiful sunset as we made our way back to La Paz. I was a little nervous as grew darker and we had no navigation lights on the boat. There was a large flashlight, and Mario stood up and held it from side to side as we went along. Loreto slowed down when we were in the vicinity of the whale sharks, and Mario explained that if we happened to hit one at that speed, "it would not be good." I think that was supposed to make me feel better? The kids did great through all of this. In fact, I was so proud of them throughout the day. They all had great attitudes, were pleasant and excited and obedient. They did things I would have been scared to do when I was a child. They didn't complain even when the day grew so long and it was dark and cool. We were relieved when we finally got back to the dock around 6:30 or so, and Mario called a taxi to take us back to where we'd parked that morning. It was an amazing day, one we will remember happily! I'm so glad we did it.|