Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A unique egg hunt

After a few weeks at the dock in Mazatlan acclimating to boat life and working on various projects we decided it was time to get out of the slip and venture to an island 85 nautical miles south of Mazatlan where frigate birds and blue-footed boobies live in the wild. The trip to Isla Isabela took approximately 24 hours of wind and motor sailing. At sunset Henry, with help from Dad, caught what we think was a Skipjack. Doug filleted and cooked it and dinner was served!

Once we dropped anchor we jumped off the back of the boat, swam in the clear water, and enjoyed the beauty of the majestic rock formations that sit just off the island.

On Easter morning we rode our dingy to the island cove where fishing shacks line the waters edge. As we approached land I realized my sense of adventure in my post-children years has been somewhat altered by Disney and Planet Earth. The "high-adventure" traveling Doug and I did when newly married had faded and our recent years of visits to Disneyland and the like had encroached upon my sense of what a "real" natural experience should be. The reality of this island and its raw, natural state struck me. It stunk, "naturally" from bird droppings. Gosh, Disneyland doesn't smell like this, I thought. On shore I got another dose of reality when we looked for a place to sit and eat lunch. No umbrella covered picnic tables here! Squat on a rock that has encrusted bird poop on it (I was amazed to see that we all did this rather than stand!?!) and eat amidst the various fish skeletons, insects, and once again, "natural" aromas. None of this was really a problem, simply an observation and somewhat comical to me.

Once we started our hike to see the wildlife, all things Disney faded away and we became so engrossed with the birds and our exploration of the island that the experience was as exciting and genuine as anyone could hope for.

The fishermen who fish from this island look as though they stay for days, if not weeks, performing their trade. I suppose they have boats come out to collect their catch and take it to the mainland. The shacks they live in are barely inhabitable by our standards but they seem to be quite content with their corrugated tin sided abodes. The fishermen we saw went about their business without really noticing we had arrived.
"Just more tourists", is probably what they were thinking.

We were told to have Spam and fruit cocktail on board to trade for the catch of the day but no one ever approached us to make that deal. We typically engage in conversation with locals wherever we go but these fishermen didn't take the bait when we looked at them with that, "Hola, como esta?" look, so on we hiked.

We did meet and talk with a Mexican family who had just finished hiking the island so their directions were helpful to us since the trail markings were good, not great. The frigate birds seem to have possession of the lower part of the island while the boobies have the top. Some of the male frigates were trying to attract the females by puffing up their red necks. See below.
The real treat of the day came when we walked past a mama blue-footed booby. She squawked at us at first but when she saw that we were friendly she simmered down and eventually showed us the eggs she was protecting.

These birds are stunning to look at. Their feet are either bright blue, greenish-yellow, or off-white but the blue are the most vivid. We had been told, but were still amazed, to see how docile all the birds on the island were considering they live in the wild. Fortunately nothing has ever challenged them enough to change their trusting ways. They allow strangers to get within 2 feet of them without feeling at all intimidated.

No comments:

Post a Comment