For years I have been going to Rocky Point. And for years I have always wanted to see the infamous "Bird Island" 28 miles away. Today I take you all there with a little info that might help you out if you decide to visit...or not:) But before I begin, I should tell you that it was worth it.
|Double Crested Cormorant|
Of course, like any good birder, I did my research and discovered a lot of bird species were out on the islands and not found on the mainland. Tomorrow I take you close and personal with the Blue Footed and Brown Boobies. From this photo shoot alone, I took around 700 pictures!!
Essentially the "Bird Islands" or Isla San Jorge known by the locals are great rocks in the middle of the Sea Of Cortez. It is also the beginning of islands that create a chain from the northern part of Mexico all the way down to South America. The islands are all protected as a Marine Corridor with several of the islands containing untouched rain forest and many protected endemic creatures living on or around them. These islands are nesting homes to many rare and beautiful seabirds. Depending on what time of year you go, you may find whales in the area. So you can see why this was a big thing for me to see:)
And Bird Island really lived up to the name. Thousands of birds flew around these magnificent islands. But what I write now is about the ride there:) It was quite a memorable experience. If you watched a "Big Year" with Steve Martin and Jack Black, you may appreciate this experience even more. I laughed the entire way there. Should I have? No. It was a bit scary. The waves were choppy and half the crew threw up. It was pretty bad. In the movie, Steve Martin is trying to do his "Big Year" but doesn't like getting on rocking boats as he gets seasick. Well his character would have hated this little trip which lasted 6 hours! We were the only boat heading toward the islands and people were on the floor crouched in the fetal position. One young man ran to throw up over the side of the boat and was knocked over by a huge wave where he hit his head hard on the side of the vessel. We helped him out and he was able to throw up properly while nursing his wound.
The incident even spread to my own group of friends. It was hard to watch my friend turn green fighting off an anxiety attack. So the best way to combat this? Humor. I asked if I could take a picture of her throwing up taking out my camera pointing it at her and she gave me a fist. Some words may have come out of her mouth, but the birds, boat motor, and waves were so loud that I may not have heard her correctly:) That's when I knew she was going to be okay:) But wouldn't that have been fun. Pretend to catch a gull in the background while really taking a shot of the guy throwing up overboard. That would have really added to this story:)!! Okay...maybe not.
But all of this means nothing. Truly. We arrived at our destination. Anchored. You can't go on the islands but we watched all the life around us. The sounds were incredible. During times of chaos with the public in and out of the classroom, I go to these moments in my mind and am able to block out the most stressful scenarios. Call it a coping strategy:) Thousands of seabirds flying around you at all times. Seals swimming up in groups to the boat....curious about snack eating humans on board. Attention scuba divers, I'm not sure how you could safely scuba dive here BECAUSE the bull sea lions have been charging people from on shore. Most of the sea lions are friendly, but the bulls are the largest and most aggressive. He's protecting his family. There have been reports that several divers were charged recently. I heard the Mexican crew talking and it sounded like there were a few close calls. Yet they are still telling everyone it's okay. That's why you learn a second or third language. And the best part? They don't expect white Americans to speak the language. It's my secret weapon:) Be careful.
We turned a corner and this is something out of a fantastical story. The sea lion on the rock "oof oofed" us into the cove. Warning! People are here. The above pic captures the magic of these islands. I wish we had a naturalist on board to give us a little history on birds and other marine life. I only knew any information from my research before the trip and was able to put things together. Tomorrow we get up close and personal with the bird species known as Boobies. I hope you enjoy this series of shots. I captured the nesting habits and I'll share with you some more interesting info. Having a telephoto lens really makes the difference....:)