Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center La Paz Trip Recap

Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center La Paz Trip Recap


Diving La Paz, Mexico

with Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center


Written By Tim Yeo

Pictures by Tim Yeo & Brian Constantine

 

lapaz

Whale Sharks in the La Paz bay. 

 

Day 1: Saturday, Oct 17, 2015 – Arrival Day

We arrived at noon in Cabo airport--a new and very clean international airport. Our Trans Baja transport was waiting for us as we exited the airport, and we started our 2-hour journey to La Paz. Along the way, we stopped for lunch at "The best burrito stand in Mexico." The rest of the day was spent checking into the barely-year-old Hyatt Place hotel in La Paz and hitting downtown La Paz for dinner.

 


La Paz La Paz 

The Hyatt Place La Paz was a nice and modern hotel.

La Paz La Paz

Rooms in the Hyatt Place were spacious and face either the golf course or the marina.

 

Day 2: Sunday, Oct 18, 2015 – La Coralito, Fang Ming Wreck, and Whale Shark Snorkel

After a breakfast buffet in the Hyatt, Fun Baja picked us up and brought us over to their dive shop located in Costa Baja, a 3-minute shuttle ride away. We loaded our gear on Fun Baja's largest boat, the Isabella, and motored out for 90 minutes to get to La Coralito for our checkout dives. 


We were pleasantly surprised by the warm 86-degree temperatures when we jumped in and were immediately greeted by a massive school of grunts, which seemed to follow us the whole dive. For the second dive, we went to the wreck of the Fang Ming 5 minutes away. We found a longnose hawkfish near the stern and a hawksbill turtle on the top deck. The wreck had large cutouts that provided great opportunities for penetration. 

 

On the way back to La Paz, we took a detour to look for whale sharks. We were not disappointed. Six or more whale sharks were actively feeding in the bay. The visibility wasn't stellar due to the plethora of krill in the water, but it was a great experience to get up close and personal with the whale sharks. When they feed, whale sharks swirl in a stationary position, so we didn't have to swim fast to catch up with them. We could just float and watch.

 

La Paz La Paz

 Left: The Isabella was perfect for our dive group of 20.     Right: Endless grunts on our checkout dives.

La Paz La Paz

 Left: Wreck of the Fang Ming               Right: Whale Sharks in the La Paz Bay.

 

Day 3: Monday, October 19, 2015 – Punta Lobos, Salvatierra Wreck, and Swanee Reef

This was another day of great diving, with three dives planned. The first dive was on the eastern coast of Isla Espiritu Santo, and we passed a number of picturesque beaches with clear turquoise waters en route to the dive site. Punta Lobos was an interesting dive, which involved swimming in between massive boulders. The second dive was at the famous Salvatierra wreck, which has been underwater for 60 years. It was teeming with life.


The last dive of the day was arguably the best. It was a reef dive just minutes from the Salvatierra wreck--the reef responsible for the ship's demise. Swanee Reef tops out in 10 feet of water and is surrounded by 30 feet of sand. Moray eels could be found in almost every crevice on the reef, and there were sightings of frogfish, scorpionfish, and various reef fish swimming around sea fans. At the safety stop, we were encircled by a school of sargent majors, which were dodging the advances of a couple cormorants trying to catch an early dinner.   

 

La Paz La Paz

 Left: All our dives were done around Isla Espiritu Santo.     Right: Salvatierra Wreck.

La Paz La Paz

 Left: Cute Porcupinefish were abundant in La Paz.     Right: Cormorant hunting Sargent Majors.

 

Day 4: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 – Whale Island & whale shark snorkel

The north winds picked up and our 90-minute glassy ride to Isla Espiritu Santo was choppier. We chose Whale Island as our dive site for the day and did 2 dives there. The underwater geography was again the highlight at Whale Island, with a number of deep caverns that we swam into.


Visibility in the bay was better, but the whale sharks were not feeding in stationary position because there were no krill. Instead, we had the opportunity to swim alongside a number of large 30-foot and smaller 15-foot whale sharks. We certainly got our workout for the day!

 

La Paz La Paz

 Left: Cavern diving at Whale Island.     Right: Whale sharks in the La Paz bay.

 

Day 5: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - El Bajo, El Tintorera, and Mobula Night Dive

The group checked out of the Hyatt Place hotel after breakfast. Taking only the essentials, we made our way to Isla Espiritu Santo for a couple days of more diving and camping on the island. The first two dives were at El Bajo. One dive involved searching for hammerhead sharks out in blue water. Some divers caught a couple glimpses of hammerheads below, and a few divers even got close to a blue shark. The other dive at El Bajo was done on the deep pinnacle, which was teeming with marine life.  


In between dives, a pod of bottlenose dolphins came to check out the boat, and we grabbed our snorkel gear and jumped into the water with them. While initially apprehensive about our presence in the water, they soon realized we were harmless and started to swim closer to us. This afforded us some amazing photo opportunities. 


La Paz La Paz

 Left: Descending into the blue at El Bajo to look for Hammerhead sharks.     Right: La Paz Surgeonfish at El Bajo Centro.

La Paz La Paz

 Left: Bottlenose Dolphins at El Bajo.       Right: Big smiles all around after swimming with dolphins.


After two dives at El Bajo, we motored to Ensenada Grande. The campsite there was situated on a turquoise-water-lapped beach surrounded by rocky cliffs littered with cacti. Upon reaching paradise, some divers chose to skip the third dive at El Tintorera and opted to read a book on the lounge chairs, soak in the warm 86-degree water, or go kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.


La Paz La Paz

 The campsite at Ensenada Grande on Isla Espiritu Santo.

La Paz La Paz

 Activities included kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or simply relaxing and reading a book on the beach. 


At El Tintorera, we descended upon a large bed of garden eels that were about 8-10 inches out of the sand. We then swam over to a sandy patch known to have giant jawfish. There were so many in the sand, almost every diver had a jawfish to him or herself.


 La Paz La Paz

 Left: Jawfish looking for food.        Right: A male jawfish nursing eggs in his mouth.

 

Our next dive was unique to La Paz, and the only way one can do it is by camping on the island. We motored over to an area 5 minutes away, dropped a strong, powerful light into the shallow 20-foot sand below the boat, and waited for about 15 minutes before descending for a night dive. The light attracted a plethora of plankton, and over 50 mobula rays came flying in to feed on the abundance of food. It was an hour of non-stop action as the insatiable mobula rays kept swooping into the sand to feed. 

 

La Paz La Paz

 

La Paz La Paz

 Schools of mobula rays during the night dive at Ensenada Grande.

 

Day 6: Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 - Los Islotes

The north winds were forecasted to pick up further, so we decided to get an early start. We were on the boat by 8 a.m. ready for the 15-minute boat ride to Los Islotes to see the famous La Paz sea lions. They dazzled our crew of divers. Dozens of curious sea lions interacted with us like dogs with their owners--swimming playfully around our group. Los Islotes was also enveloped by a massive school of sardines, which moved together as one while avoiding hunting bonito and cormorants.


La Paz La Paz

 

La Paz La Paz

  Schools of mobula rays during the night dive at Ensenada Grande.


After the two dives, we headed back to the campsite for lunch and an afternoon of kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. A group of us did a 2-hour long hike to the other side of the island, passing through rocky canyons and thick brush to emerge on a cliff overlooking the Sea of Sortez and the El Bajo dive site. We were also rewarded with amazing views of Ensenada Bay and our campsite. The setting sun in the background set the scene ablaze in a riot of colors.

 

La Paz La Paz

 Left: The hike up the canyon was littlered with cactus.    Right: Sweeping views of the Sea of Cortez at the end of the hike. 

La Paz La Paz

 We were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset on our way back. 

 

Day 7: Friday, October 23, 2015 - Los Islotes, C59 wreck, and Whale Shark Snorkel

We had a choice of dive sites for our last day of diving, and to no surprise, we all decided to go back to Los Islotes to play with sea lions. The last dive was done on the C59 wreck, which was lying on its starboard side. Penetration on the C59 was impressive. We entered through a large cutout near the bow and exited all the way at the stern, passing through the engine room, hallways, and various other rooms along the way.


Our last day also included a trip to the bay to look for whale sharks, which we couldn't get enough of. We saw about a half dozen whale sharks, some of them feeding and some just passing through.  

 

La Paz La Paz

 Left: The bow of the C59 wreck.            Right: Lots of opportunities to penetrate the C59 wreck. 

 

 

Overall, it was an amazing trip! 


La Paz

 Smiling faces at the end of a wonderful trip. 

 

 

 

HOW TO BOOK A TRIP TO LA PAZ, MEXICO

Bluewater Travel has many years of experience booking and leading group and individual trips to La Paz. We can book you on any resort in La Paz, or a liveaboard in the Sea of Cortez for the same cost or less than booking any other way.

We know the diving, accommodation, cabins and when to go better than anyone else!

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