Over the past month and a half I have continually expressed my love for Baja. If it not the scenery then it’s the people. Every day something happens which just makes me fall more and more in love with this part of the world. Yesterday put the icing on the cake. I have been a fan of diving ever since my parents paid for me to do my Padi course in Thailand in 2007. Since then I have dived in Vietnam, Zanzibar, Argentina, Egypt, the Andaman Islands and yesterday I was able to add the Sea of Cortez.
La Paz has a lot of options for diving but I opted for the Carey Dive Center which is situated in the Marina de La Paz. Apart from being the first shop I came across it is also the center that had the best reviews and while a little more expensive something made me feel it was going to be a good service.
I decided that as I was going to be spending so much money on this excursion I might as well get all the extras and when I left the office I had signed up to two dives and a snorkelling trip. But these were not just any old dives and snorkelling. The dives were to a place where we would be hoping to swim with hammerhead sharks and the snorkelling was with whale sharks…. If all went to plan then it was going to be an amazing day.
Well it turned out to be far better that I had even dared imagine!! After a little mix up at the beginning of the day we found ourselves on the dive boat and heading out to sea. Our group consisted of 4 paying divers, 1 dive guide, a diver from the company and the skipper. The boat was clean, the equipment in good condition and everything worked. After about 1 hour 40 mins we arrived at the dive site. I have no idea how the skipper found the site as we stopped in the middle of the Sea of Cortez. We suited up and splashed into the water all set for our marine adventure. In turn we followed the anchor rope to the bottom of the sea and the search began.
On all diving trips there is a risk that you won’t get to see what you hoped for and when looking for special fish like sharks that can be more likely. Not this time I am happy to report. Within 5 minutes we spotted 2 large hammerhead sharks on the bottom of the sea. It was an amazing site to behold and something I will always remember. After our frst dive it was suggested we go further inland to sea other fish. Luckily Alberto (one of the other divers) persuaded us all to repeat the same dive. On take two we were rewarded with 3 hammerheads within minutes of submerging. This time they were more level and had time to spend a little longer with them. After they disappeared we got to spend the rest of the dive surrounded by the most amazing number of fish swimming in huge shoals. A real pleasure.
The next part of the trip was to snorkelling with whale sharks. Our skipper set the boat on its course and off we sped. After an hour or so the boat suddenly changed course and we were dashing across the sea in pursuit of something truly amazing. The skipper had caught a glimpse of a whale and had diverted so we could all have a look. When we finally arrived it wasn’t just a whale swimming calmly along, it was a humpback whale breaching. This was one of the most majestic sites I have ever seen and something I am so grateful to have experienced.
After spending a good half an hour with the whale our boat was back on the move. We reached our final destination – snorkelling with whale sharks. I knew whale sharks were big but I was not prepared for what I experienced. There were about 4-5 whale sharks all feeding and then there was us just swimming next to them. The largest was about 10m long and covered in beautiful pink spots. It was humbling to be so close to such a vast creature. This was an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
If all the above wasn’t enough a shoal of Devil Rays swan past just to top off the day!!!