Islas Marietas

We took a two hour boat ride from Puerta Vallarta to Islas Marietas (Marieta Islands). These uninhabited volcanic islands are protected for wildlife by the Mexican government. It was fun to watch the cormorants search, dive, and come up with fish they had caught. We also saw a small pod of dolphins playing in and out of the water, and even a sea turtle. And I saw the fluke of a whale. It happened too fast to even point it out to anyone, but I treasure the memory anyway. The closer we got to the islands, the more it seemed like there were faces looking at us from the rocks as we approached (see middle pictures below).

Once the boat had reached the limit of how close we could get to the island, we then jumped off the boat and were able to snorkel. With no waterproof camera, we couldn’t take pictures. All we could do was enjoy what we saw. And enjoy it we did. We saw tangs, jacks, Moorish Idols (I thought these were angelfish), razor surgeons, and several fish we couldn’t label. The pictures below are used with license from Canva Pro. We are hoping to replace these pictures with the ones Lena, the friend we met from Germany, promised to email us from her camera. But these will do for now.

Once we finished snorkeling, we were taken to a a pristine beach. Only twenty people are allowed on this beach at a time, and they are not allowed to take anything but pictures. As a result, we saw some delicate seashells, beautiful arches and caves, and even a mama blue-footed booby with her 2 fluffy white babies! We couldn’t see the babies’ feet, but our guide said that they are as white as their feathers when they are born, and the pigmentation doesn’t come until later.

We didn’t even know blue-footed boobies lived in this part of the world, but there she was, clear as could be. Our guide told us that, while most live in the tropical eastern Pacific, thousands of these creatures live in Mexico’s Gulf of California! We felt blessed to have glimpsed three of them! All three birds seemed to be waiting for Daddy to come back with some food, as their heads were erect and looking to the sky, and their beaks were slightly open. I’ve never seen one of these awkward looking birds in their natural habitat, so we watched them in awe for quite some time.

We later learned that their blue feet were caused by their favorite diet, and the bluer a male booby’s feet, the more healthy his diet must be. It turns out the female boobies are no boobies at all: They purposely favor the brightly footed males for mating, following their instinct that these healthy, well-fed males will produce healthy babies and help them grow more quickly because they are better at finding the food their diets demand. That’s some wise mate-picking right there! Again, no waterproof camera, so we’ve provided pictures we are licensed to use from

In the end, it had been a long, beautiful day in the sun. The crew of our boat provided unlimited cocktails on the way back, but we were only able to partake of one piña colada, just to feel that ice cold explosion of sweetness on our dry mouths. We were afraid that any more, and they would find us on the boat the next day, still snoring away! We disembarked, said goodbye to our new friends from Germany and California, hailed an uber, and wearily dragged back to the resort. Dinner and a balcony jacuzzi was all we could handle after all that adventure, but it had been worth it, sunburns and all!

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