Re: Cabo San Lucas

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Posted by seahunt on December 26, 2000 at 17:26:26:

In Reply to: Cabo San Lucas posted by JRM on December 26, 2000 at 10:49:28:

Here is a bit of travel log from my web site. You might want
to check it out at I can give a first hand
description of some of the diving in Cabo San Lucus. This is to
suggest some of what you might want to do and what not to bother
with. Cabo is more of a party town and a fishing town, than a
dive destination. The food is good and there is fun in the air.
It is a rather small town and the main part can be walked end to
end in less than a 20 minute stroll. There are scads of
interesting shops.
The water is warm. A little bit of wetsuit is all that is
needed. As you get to town, you can see the swimmers and the jet
skiers. The jet skiers seem to delight in seeing how high they
can drive their jet skis onto the beach. There are enough
timeshares for everyone.
First off, Cabo is fascinating just because it is the very
tip of the extremely long peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and
the Sea of Cortez. That beautiful arch that is shown in so many
pictures, it turns out that it is right at the mouth of the
harbor. You can walk most of the way to it. There is a timeshare
right to the west of it on the Pacific side. At different times
of the year, record sized Roosterfish can be caught right off the
beach there. The rocks themselves are fascinating just because of
their incredible sculpturing. At first glance, it looks like water
erosion. A little thought says that that is impossible. The wear
must have been done by blowing sand. That is a lot of blow and a
lot of sand.

In any case, Cabo is really good if you want a tan, a drunk,
good food or good fishing. Unfortunately the diving is a bit
limited. There are more dive shops than there are dive sites.
For a rock crawler like myself, there was not all that much to
see. The best offering to divers is that the Cabo area can be
excellent for encountering large pelagics. It is possible to see
tuna, perhaps billfish and an occasional whale shark.
The commonest dives are right around the famous arches at
the entrance to the harbor. This is where Jacques Cousteau found
the sand falls. On the inside of the harbor, at various depths
is an area where big and little flows of sand constantly stream
down the sides of steep rocky slopes into deep water. They are
very pretty in a quiet way. The total area at the harbor mouth
is not large and is quite heavily dove, but there is still
interesting stuff to see. There were beautiful patches of yellow
anemones and small fish flittering all over the place. There are
seals to dive with and a pretty substantial wreck perched on the
rocks off of the last point. There are three divable wrecks near
this area. The fishing boat, right off the lands end is the most
interesting that I saw. Past the arch at the end of the land,
are two more divable rocks that are like small seamounts. Big
morays are common in the many places. The area is a good snorkel
spot and there are small, but quite nice beaches there amoungst
the rocks.
Up the coast a short distance is what is Cabo Pulmo, called
North America's only living coral reef. It is heavily dove and
not very extensive. Really, if you want to see coral reefs, you
are going to see prettier ones elsewhere.

The high point of the trip for me, was the Gordo Banks. It
took a little arm twisting just to get them to take me there. My
"pre-arranged with the dive shop" dive plan included that I would
go there, but things change... There are a couple of reasons why
they did not want to go there real bad. First, they do not always
have enough people, three is about minimum. Second is that it is
a bit deeper than many divers are prepared for. At the last minute,
the dive shop found another diver to go with us. We took a van
about eight miles up the coast to a fish camp. There are numerous
small open boats with outboards, called pongas. The guide, Luiz,
was a very experienced diver. He spoke of the salvage work that
he had done that ultimately had him doing dives to 265 feet. This
was supposed to be a bit less. The method of finding the Banks was
to line up on landmarks and then throw out the anchor until they
found it. The first try found nothing, but the second try hit
rock. Now, I knew that this was to be a deep dive. The shallowest
part of the banks come up near 100 feet. I figured that we would
probably end up at around 130 feet, but spend our time primarily at
110. Right. The guide and I went down the anchor line, as the
other diver had a bad case of mal de mer. At 100 feet, there was
only blue water to be seen. At 130 feet there was only blue water
to be seen, with the anchor rope going down into the clear depths.
At 150 feet, the anchor line still just went on down, but at the
limit of visibility, off to the side, large rocks, like the top of
a mountain, could be seen. We went there.
There were these beautiful yellow lacy tree like things
growing as much as 4 feet up from the rocks. As there is not
supposed to be coral there, I suspect that they were some kind of
zoanthid. I have to admit, I fear what the anchors of the boats
must do to them. There were fish all over the place. As we
progressed on up the reef to a bit more reasonable depth, we saw
numerous different tropical species that I was used to seeing in
coral reefs. Seeing the bright colors of butterfly fish at this
depth suggested that part of the reason that they must be bright
colored is so that the colors will still show up at that depth.
Luiz went down in a crack and picked up a really neat looking
bullseye ray and offered it to me for a photo. It languidly swam
a few feet and posed quite nicely. I was surprised to see that
there were Crown of Thorns starfish here and there. I thought
that they lived on coral, though I guess that many starfish are
generalists. It was a beautiful dive with many different things
to see, but I think that what amazed me the most was that after
seeing all these beautiful tropical fish and bottom critters, a
Sheepshead went zipping by. Hmmm. Somehow I had not expected to
see something that familiar from California, during such an exotic
dive. It was a bit of a short dive at that depth. My computer
was showing a display that I had never seen before, but did not
seem to mean much. We were not literally into decompression, but
I sure was not going for the surface any time soon. We went up.
Luiz parked at 20 feet and I stayed at 15. We stayed there as
long as we could, looking at the small floating life and hoping
to see a big pelagic. The small pulsating iridescent jellyfish
offer a beautiful macro view to anyone willing to focus on the
nearby. All in all, we stayed there long enough that it was
excellent safety procedures for a deep dive. The funny thing was
that because of our long shallow stop, within about 15 minutes,
our computers said that we could go again. I told Luiz that I
would like to wait at least 45 minutes. We made another dive. It
was a bit shallower than the first. We saw the same incredible
variety as the first trip, beautiful tropicals were everywhere. I
think though that the prettiest thing that I saw were the delicate
lacy yellow zoanthid anemones that grew everywhere. I would like
to see them again.

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