Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18, Isla San Marcos, Lobsters and wildlife day...

Today could have been just another usual day out cruising.  But no!  Every time I think I am in for an ordinary day God surprises me with more close encounters with His amazing creations.  Today found us heading north to Isla San Marcos which is about 15 miles north of Punta Chivato.  It was flat calm today and we had to motor all but the last hour where we had a nice sail into an anchorage called Sweet Pea Cove.  On the way we were duly entertained by hundreds of small manta rays jumping all around us. The show went on for about an hour and we literally saw flying mantas in the hundreds.  Leaping out of the water, some flying straight others flipping wildly and then making a loud slap when they smacked back down on the surface of the water.  I got a few photos where I caught them in the air and a couple actually show 2 or 3 in the air at the same time.  

About a mile north of the anchorage is a rocky point called Punta de los Arcos (Arches Point) so Tallen and I decided to head up there in the dinghy to do some exploring and snorkeling.  We found a really cool low arch where we took the dinghy under and to the other side.  It was a tight fit but made for some pretty cool pictures.  We also snorkeled under and through a really cool archway with the light shining through from the other side making for some amazing underwater pics.  After that I found this little crevasse back in the rocks that was so small and tight that it got dark in there even though we were there in the middle of the day.  It intrigued me how far back into the rock the tight water cave went but we needed to go back to the boat to get my dive light in order to find out.

Back to the boat we went where we were greeted by a few hundred bees that had come aboard partaking of the fresh water.  After wrangling all the bees out of the boat we put up the screens to keep them on the outside.  We had some lunch, grabbed the dive lights and headed back out to Los Arcos to find the dark cave again.  As soon as we left the boat I saw a fin in the water attached to a long body.  I screamed to Tallen that there was a shark...right there!  As it turns out, it wasn't a shark.  On closer inspection it was a marlin.  Ya, a marlin, right there in the anchorage not 20' off the back of the boat. We had the GoPro with us so we stuck it in the water following this marlin as he slowly cruised around the anchorage.  I wish we had a way to catch it. Dang.  We did, however, get some awesome GoPro footage of the marlin swimming not 3' in front of us in the dinghy for about 5 minutes.  How cool is that?  That was a first for me seeing a marlin right there by the boat at anchor.

And now for the part of the story you are probably most interested in...the lobsters! We went back to the area where the cave was and it took us a while to actually find it, it being a quite small crease in the volcanic rock shoreline on the northwest side of Isla Marcos.  However, we did eventually find it and I suited up with my snorkeling gear, dive light and spear ready to see what was in there.  I must admit, I was a little nervous as the first time I went just inside the mouth of the cave I saw a pretty large moray eel and after that it got too dark to even see.  Dark, narrow cave, maybe 2' of headroom above the water in the main channel of the cave and a large moray eel guarding the entrance...not really in my comfort zone.  haha.  However, it did get my adrenaline pumping and as most of you know, I'm kind of into adrenaline. lol.  As soon as I got far enough into the small opening to require my dive light to see I spotted 8-10 small lobsters in a little side crevasse.  They were smaller so I didn't take any but I was definitely excited about the possibilities.  All told the cave went back into the darkness about 75' or so with several other crevasses leading to other caverns on either side.  I saw lobsters everywhere I looked.  Not thousands, probably not even hundreds but certainly more than one hundred.  The Holy Grail of lobster caves!  The first time I exited the cave I came out with two really nice lobsters.  Tallen was stoked but still not stoked enough to actually go into the cave. lol.  I went back in and repeated the performace...several times.  Sometimes it took me longer than others because I was going deeper into the darkness.  Once you get about 20' or so in it was as dark as night and the only light was the small beam coming from my dive light.  The biggest bug I got was all the way at the back of the cave where I literally was in 10" of water, crawling on my belly and the lobster had crawled himself out of the water onto the dark rocks at the back of the cave.  When I was belly crawling back in there to get him I got poked several times from smaller lobster that my belly was dragging over.  No! I'm not making this stuff up!  Really, I promise.

First time out of the cave with a couple very nice bugs.

As I started to explore more I found at least 4 or 5 other deep crevasses leading off in other directions...all with lobsters crawling around.  There were definitely many, many bugs that I had no chance of reaching as they were way back into very tight, dark places.  There was one really big one that was way back in a hole that I wanted badly. I could see him with my light but no way to reach him.  As I was shining my light on him, to my surprise, he started walking out of the hole right towards me.  Just before he was in range my grip on my sling slipped and it fired and hit a rock scaring the big guy back deeper into the hole.  Anyway, all told I hand selected 11 lobsters to grace our freezer and dinner table.  I know this sounds like it isn't real.  It still seems unreal to me.   It was SO COOL!  After about 45 minutes in the cave I had pretty much scattered lobster everywhere and I look forward to going back tomorrow when things have settled down a little.  YES...I am going back!  haha.  That is the most incredible mother load of lobsters ever and I will be putting more in my freezer tomorrow. Marne...I hope you like lobster because this will be our first stop next this fall! 

I think that is enough excitement for one day.  I had better get busy preparing this lobster feast.  Ciao for now.

Bret and Tallen
SV Liahona

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