Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Whale Sharks!!!

Marne and The Beast

Before leaving La Paz we wanted to make a run at seeing some whale sharks that winter here in the Bay of La Paz.  The plan was to head over yesterday and find a spot to anchor somewhere in the vicinity of their stomping grounds.  The winds were supposed to be light so anchoring on an "open roadstead" (no protection off of a 10 mile long beach) seemed reasonable and worth the risk.  The winds were not as light as we had hoped but not terrible.  As we entered the bay late yesterday afternoon we spotted one whale shark from the boat as we passed by.  Then after we anchored as the sun began to set we saw several more feeding along the surface a 100' or so from the boat.  It was fairly choppy so we didn't put the dinghy in the water and instead decided to wait until morning.  

The wind never got below 10-15 knots all night so it was quite choppy and rolly and did not make for a comfortable night sleep.  However, as we awoke around 6:30am the winds were down to around 5 knots and the water was much smoother so we dropped the motor on the dink and headed out slowly looking for the largest fish in the ocean, the whale shark.  We motored around slowly for over an hour before we spotted the first one as it swam along the surface.  Marne jumped in the water and swam with it for several minutes and even hitched a free ride for a bit hanging onto it's dorsal fin.  Saying she was pumped would be a MAJOR understatement.  

We cruised around for a couple of hours and then went back to the boat to get some lunch and do a sail repair.  It seemed as if the morning hours the whale sharks were moving around a fair amount and it was hard to stay with them.  So we spent about 2 hours aboard sewing the foot of the reacher sail that was in desperate need of attention.  

Around 3pm we went back out and quickly came upon a couple of large ones.  These were feeding on the surface and were content to have us hang around and enjoy their lunchtime with them.  For over an hour Marne and I were the only ones in the ocean with these gentle giants just enjoying their beauty and majesty.  All told we probably hung out with 8 or 10 of them, not all together, for about 2 hours laying on their back, riding along hanging onto their dorsals and generally just being amazed by it all.  There were definitely some big boys out there with the bigger ones in the 30-35' range.

We have about 50 GoPro videos that are nothing short of amazing.  We will try to upload a few short clips when we get internet again and then make a full video somewhere down the line.  After the whale shark fest we pulled anchor and headed a few short miles to Bahia Falsa just north of La Paz where we will stay the night, without rocking, and then head north to Isla Espiritu Santo where we plan to spend Thanksgiving with some friends.  If our plans go as we hope we will try to swim with the sea lions on Isla Los Islotes on Thanksgiving morning.  We definitely have much to be thankful for!  Words cannot describe how grateful we are to be here in the Sea of Cortez experiencing so much of God's amazing creations.  Wish only wish we could share it with everyone!

And that is a close to another "off the charts" day here aboard the Liahona.  Ciao for now.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

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