Then turn left along the cliff wall. Make sure you tell the boatman what time to come back for you. If you wish your boatman will probably be happy to take you the scenic route, past the sea lion colony, through the arch and by the "Mexican Chickens". The Dive Santa Maria is a small bay with the best diving on the left hand side looking out to sea. It's full of rocky gullies: be careful not to get washed up some of the narrower ones. Abundant fish, including rays and snake eels. A good shore dive for both day and night - look out for the lobsters after dark.
Turn right down the track to the Santa Maria car park. The Dive Chileno is a long beach with a dive shop on the right hand side. Two rocky reefs run parallel to the beach, the furthest having a depth of around 13 m. A shore dive, it's quite a long swim out, over sand. Clumps of coral cover the rocks, harbouring invertebrates and fish. The Dive A shallow dive near the Palmilla dive shop. Composed of small, broad rocky pinnacles. Very interesting when you stop to look at small things. Shrimp in holes in the sand give your fingers quite a nip.
Teeny hermit crab, almost as small bright blue crab, red lipped and red headed blennies. The Dive Gordo Banks is rumoured to start at around 25 m. However, this is easy to miss and the dive quickly gets much deeper. Take a torch - the water gets dark and cold. Look for sharks, morays, rays, tuna Getting There Take a fishing boat from La Playita - maximum of 4 people - book and negotiate in advance.
Alternatively use one of the dive operators.
The Dive The wreck is a short boat ride away from Gorda Banks. It is in 3 parts, the parts forming a north-south-west triangle. The prop is south and big. The hull is north and upturned. If you're used to wreck diving take a torch and swim inside. The hull sparkled and was covered in fan worms with little fish peeping out of holes. A good second dive to do after Gorda Banks. Cabo Pulmo is a small village, which now has a series of bungalows in which you can stay.
The only true coral reef in Baja is here, although arguably the best dive is not on the coral reef but on a rocky reef out to sea.
The coral can reef-build here because of the high water temperature in Cabo Pulmo bay, which is not exposed to the cold-water upwellings common elsewhere in the Sea of Cortez. Scientists have found the marine reserve in the Cabo Pulmo national park to be "the most robust marine reserve in the world" 1. People living around Cabo Pulmo, previously depleted by fishing, established the park in and have strictly enforced its no-take restrictions. This place became known for the huge schools of Jacks that can sum to millions of fish in one school.
So that was the idea when we went there. To be able to witness a school of fish that would eclipse the sun. And I can say the place delivered. Visibility was not as good as some of he National Geographic photos but still a dive of a lifetime. The photos don't give justice to the amazing experience this is. Photo credit: Arthur Borges. The Dive A world class dive site - the conditions vary but all dives here are good.
The reef is around m long. Depending on the current, and how slowly you try to traverse it, you can spend around minutes. The visibility is generally good. With a gentle current the dive begins with a garden of eels. Big, tight shoals of fish move over the reef - much more compact than you see elsewhere. Large schools of tuna swim overhead. Sea of Cortez really does contain more fish than elsewhere.
A strong current makes for an excellent drift dive. The fish frantically zip about, swimming easily against the current. This time the schools are loose and spread out. You don't just see fish of course, coral, sea fans, starfish, crabs, etc, are all here too. The Dive Although close to the shore you need to take a boat to reach these caves, or swim-throughs.
Lovely dive with several ways in and out the caves - no torch needed.
Coral, sea fans and sponges cover the ceiling. Angel fish, soldier fish and squirrel fish, amongst others, freqent the area. The Dive You can dive the south end of the reef as a shore dive. Instead of going to Cabo Pulmo carry on round the road and take a small offshoot to a place where you can walk down to the beach. Snorkel out about m. The vis is often bad to begin with, but gets better. There are three coral reefs some sources say eight , but it is difficult to tell where one reef ends and one begins.
The outer reef is beautiful with a carpet of elegant coral, Pocillopora elegans. The Dive The north end of the reef is a boat dive. Its east side is a cliff dipping from m. Further east a sandy bottom slopes gradually away. The top of the cliff is a plateau of coral: very pretty. You sometimes get a current whipping across the coral, which makes for a wonderful drift at the end of the dive. For La Paz diving you need to book with a diving operator. There are not really any shore dives. Puerto Ballandra was mentioned as an option, but didn't appear very enticing. More details Diving and Snorkeling the Sea of Cortez.
The Dive Another fantastic dive, but you have to be lucky with the conditions.
The current here is unpredictable and if strong detracts a lot from the enjoyment. On good dives, you descend into a cloud of small wrasse, just inches from your mask. The visibility is at least 25 m. With luck you might see a turtle, swimming very slowly, being cleaned by cleaner wrasse. Typically of Baja, a multitude of fish live on the mount. Large shoals of jacks hang off it, and hammerhead sharks lurk in the background. Or, sometimes, in the foreground. In late summer and early autumn fall look for manta rays.
Photo credit : Xvic. El Bajo is a submerged group of 3 pinnacles lying in a North-South line. The top of the north pinnacle lies at 23 m, the middle pinnacle at 17 m and the south at 20 m. The middle one is the largest and bottoms at 29 m.
Its south side is a steep cliff. Take a southerly bearing from here and you can swim to the south pinnacle. You can see it if you stay close to the bottom, but the bottom slopes off downwards. Be very careful about the current: it's very easy to drift off. The south pinnacle is home to a clutch of large green moray eels, about 7 in 1 gully. At site, medium to strong current and visibility max, 12 meters but a wealth of life : a giant moray eel literally behind every rock, saw more than fifty on the 25 minute dive, hammerhead sharks, barracuda and many other fish.
The Dive A very good dive. The ferry collided with a rocky reef and sank with a cargo of trucks, but no passengers. The foot hull is intact and lies at 19 m. The mast sticks up to within 7m of the surface. The first thing that strikes you is all the yellow polyp black coral, Antipathes galapagenis.
This is particularly beautiful. You can swim through the wreck and see some of the large truck wheels. Among the wrecks occupants are octopus and Sergeant Major fish Abudefduf saxatilus. A native Spanish speaker, Gyory got tips from local residents, who told her they saw the crabs in the rainy season. They told her where she could find them, what the crabs ate, and that people sometimes ate the crabs. The brilliantly colored adults had been described and named in , but a search of scientific papers told Gyory that no one knew anything about the life cycle of the species—how it reproduces and how it develops from an egg in the ocean to an adult crab on land.
Every year, scientists find hundreds of previously unknown species. Discovering them is the easy part. This branch of science, known as natural history, may seem like a quaint relic from the era of Charles Darwin in thes. Not so, Gyory said. We humans are rapidly altering the environment on a global scale without understanding how it might affect organisms and their interactions with their environment.
Gyory had found her Ph.
Gyory was born in Venezuela and lived there her first 10 years, and then moved to Miami with her family—her father, an architect, her mother, a teacher, and her two brothers. In one way, she was already preparing to study marine crustaceans. It was about how marine larvae are moved around by currents and waves, and it intrigued her. Pineda studies internal waves—waves moving within the ocean, beneath the surface—and how they transport and distribute marine larvae and other animal plankton along coasts.
Gyory planned to study how internal waves affect zooplankton off the coast of the Liquid Jungle Lab. But then the crabs came out. A Cheshire-cat kind of animal, the square land crabs are there and not there at the same time. During the long dry season, they are invisible. Tucked into burrows in the forest floor, they come out seldom and only at night, to gather leaf litter that they carry back to eat in their burrows.
Reproduction continues through the season, but the biggest emergence from burrows and migration happens right at the beginning of the rains. Other tropical land crab species show similar behavior, Gyory learned: Adults mate in the rainy season and migrate to the sea, where females deposit millions of fertilized eggs in the water over the course of a few weeks.
Like butterflies or frogs, crabs go through stages before reaching adult form.
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The eggs hatch into larvae called zoea that spend about a month in the ocean as tiny swimming plankton. They develop through a few successive zoea stages and then into a second swimming larval stage called megalopa, and later into small juvenile crabs that move onto land, where they will mature into adults. Adults remain on land throughout their lives, which can be a decade long. Gyory read scientific studies of other land crabs and tried to follow the same methods. First she had to find the larvae. She saw crabs deposit eggs at night and knew the zoea were attracted to lights at night.
Nights became her workdays. Gyory and an assistant, Hazel Levine, collected zooplankton in different places in the bay, dozens of yards from shore. Alone on separate boats, every night for almost a month, they took hourly samples with light traps—containers with holes and small lights inside at the base. Every hour the women emptied and replaced the traps, collecting the plankton for sorting back at the lab, a kilometer up the lightless path from shore. We were pretty much on our own. How safe was that? We would try to keep each other awake by telling stories or jokes and singing songs over the radio.
But there are a lot of scorpions. To determine when adults emerged from hiding, Gyory spent days after each of several rainfalls counting crabs along 1-kilometer 0.
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Most females were already carrying eggs. And from light-trap data, she found they released eggs on outgoing tides—perhaps to reduce predation on the larvae, she said. For some animals, scientists have never been able to see eggs through to adulthood, and juvenile forms of some animals still have not been identified. Gyory set up laboratory cultures in which she reared larvae from zoea to megalopa.