Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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More Diving Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico, Sunday, 12 July 2009 12:00am

I didn't journal over the course of the week of diving. Days generally followed the same pattern: at breakfast at the hotel at 8, off to the dive shop at 9, a boat trip to a dive, a boat trip to a beach for our between-dive surface interval, a boat trip to another dive, and then back to town. In town, we'd shower, discover that it was too late to eat a normal lunch, have a badly-timed meal, dither about dinner, go to dinner, and go to bed too late to get quite enough sleep to be bright-eyed the next morning.

We saw a lot of great stuff on the dives. Tons of fish, eels, octopi, a sea turtle or two, nudibranchs. Mona has borrowed my divelog, so I'll have to fill in the details later.

Flight of Bat Rays Porcupinefishes Starfish

We also saw a bunch of neat stuff on the surface. Pilot whales, dolphins, jumping rays. It's pretty incredible to see a couple hundred dolphins jumping through the water around the boats. It's going to take me a while to go through all of the pictures.

Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins

Back on land, things were pretty low energy. Some days we'd go souvenir shopping, or to the supermarket for exotic snacks, or to poke around the mission church. We spent a lot of time in the hotel pool to keep cool. Weirdly, it's over the lobby, and has glass panels in the floor, so it's a little like being in an overhead aquarium.

Beach Pelican Pool

Fifi borrowed Chuck's helmet and took a ride with me down to Nopoló, which turns out to be like a subdivision that they forgot to build out. Lots of streets have been laid down, but there's nothing on them.

Fifi's Ride Map 17mi

Our last dive was the most unusual: a night cage dive with Humboldt squid. We left around 8pm, watching the sunset as we made our way to the middle of the bay, then dropped a cage in the water and started fishing for squid.

Apparently the favorite food of squid is... squid. When they see what looks like a squid in trouble, they try to grab onto it and eat it. So we used fluorescent lures shaped (vaguely) like squid to entice them up to the surface. The boat captains pulled a few out of the water to let us get a look at them and feel them.

Very weird creatures. Their skin seems so loose that it's barely attached, and their tentacles have little hooks on them like velcro. They'll grab your finger with the hooks, but then release it when they realize there's no way for them to get it to their beak. They can shoot out very accurate sprays of water or ink. More than once, the fisherman got a faceful when the squid broke the surface. After a minute or two on the boat, the squids were returned to the water to attract more squids.

The dive itself consisted on strapping on a weight belt, breathing through a hose, and jumping into a PVC and chickenwire cage floating a few feet below the boat. The fishermen would then wave the lures in front of the cage, and let squid grab them and fight over them.

The cage had a big "window" in the front, a space where there wasn't any PVC or chicken wire, so you had an unobstructed view of the squid. Of course, that meant that there was nothing preventing the squid from coming into the cage. More than once, a squid would get fed up with the lure and zoom off, right into the cage. Luckily, they seemed to always do that biting-end backwards (squids can propel themselves forwards or backwards), so we could duck and hope they caromed off the back wall and back out of the cage before noticing that there were tasty divers around. They usually left us a cloud of ink as a souvenir, though. It's much more viscous than I imagined.

Cage Squid

Eventually, the generator failed, so the people in the cage couldn't really see what was going on, so we packed up and headed back in to town around midnight. There are a lot of stars over the water down here, and we got to see the moonrise.

Dive Maps