ISLA ISABELLA, Mexico

We finally left Mazatlan not without a few problems. When we went to leave, the engine wouldn't start. Gord fiddled for some time & we finally had a mechanic look at it. Luckily it was just some bad connections that we were able to temporarily fix. Gord will do a more thorough repair when we get to PV. 

However, by the time we were finally set to go, the channel out of the harbor was closed and the next opening was about 5 hours away. By then the tide was at a low and it was unadvisable for us to try to get through. We decided to go for it anyway and bumped the bottom all the way out!


Sailing past Stone Island, we hitched up with Tackless II (pic right) with a couple aboard, who had a charter business in the Caribbean and are sailing to the South Pacific. Quite the coincidence that her name is Gwen, as is my mother's name, and his mother's name is Virginia, as is my name. But it gets better. His daughter's name is Tiffany, married to Derrick (my brothers name is Derrick and his wife's name is Tiffany). And to top it all off, Dons father's name is James, as is Gord's fathers name!

We sailed all night thru thick fog and arrived at a beautiful anchorage, Isla Isabella the next morning. Isla Isabela is, like Isla Guadeloupe, basically just a large lump of volcanic rock stuck out in the sea. It is a major nesting site for seabirds and all kinds of other sea life as well. A pair of Humpback whales cruised by the boat first getting my attention with their ppfffff.... We had happy hour on Tackless II watching the whales spouting in the distance, rays jumping out of the water like popcorn and the millions of birds flying overhead.

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We walked ashore the following day making sure to wear hats on account of the masses of birds circling overhead and millions more nesting in the trees and grass. 

We walked to the lake, which is actually a water filled crater on this volcanic island.

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On all the small trees, there are Frigate birds nesting, often five or six nests to a single bush. Many of the chics still had their pin feathers and were squawking for their dinner. Many males were boasting bright red throats, puffed up to impress the females. 
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There are three varieties of boobies here – blue footed, common brown and western brown boobies which have yellow feet. The blue footed boobies have very blue feet, no mistaking them. The nestlings range from tiny blobs of white fluff with enormous black beaks, to much larger juveniles whose pin feathers are growing in.

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It was hard to find a place to walk without stepping on a bird sitting on her nest. We definitely got close up and personal with the Booby hens as they would not budge from their nests, no matter how threatening our presence might have seemed to them to be.

Of course the whole island smells of bird guano, but the frigates and boobies are not nearly as stinky as the pelicans. There are a lot of brown pelicans here but they did not seem to be nesting at this time. However they certainly make for a fun day of photography with their silly antics.

There are also Hermann’s gulls, and of course iguanas abound. The red billed tropic birds, which screech like terns while flying, seem to be nesting in the red cliffs around.

The following day we all went snorkeling around the rocks. The water was surprisingly warm and I couldn't believe the bountiful array of colourful fish. Don was able to spear 2 parrot fish, a mackerel and a bass. We had the most delicious lunch of fresh fish tacos on Tackless II that I've ever tasted! Thanks Don & Gwen!