We left San Blas immediately after the arrival of Amedeo, a long time friend from Rome, as we wished to prevent him the experience of the jejenes (the very small itchy bugs), that we hardly avoided the previous couple of days. Our original plan was to continue our route toward Mazatlan, but we realized that sailing up there would have not be as attractive as the last itinerary that we made with Marie-Helene and Thierry. We included a stop to Isla Isabela, known as the “Galapagos” of Mexico. This is an isolated volcanic outcrop that is protected as a World Heritage site.
We anchored in the bay on the south side of the island and the next morning, we landed with the dinghy on a beach with several small fisherman houses and their colorful pangas lined up, with lots of pelicans and seagulls waiting to get their share of left overs. Just around the corner a secluded beach gave us the opportunity to take the first swim of the day.
As soon as we began walking up the trail leading to the top of the island, we encountered an incredible amount of frigatebirds populating every single tree available. All different life stages were represented, from eggs to females nurturing their fluffy chicks and males puffing up the big red bladders on their chest making a peculiar noise to attract the females.
However, the most incredible encounter was with a very large colony of blue footed boobies, birds that we were looking for since we were in Panama, but with no success. It was a great emotion to observe such funny birds at a very close distance; in fact, the peculiarity of Isla Isabela is the extreme confidence of all birds with human beings. We spent lots of time looking at them interacting with each other. Based on our current experience, Isla Isabela is definitely on our list of sites that “cannot be missed”.
On our way to Chacala we happened to be spectators of a quite nice show.
On February 29th we set sails back to Chacala, where this time we were able to anchor in line with the swell by using as a stern anchor a buoy that was available. The following day we spent relaxing time on the beach as real vacationers, including a great brunch sitting under colorful umbrellas facing the sea.
On March 2nd, while we were just leaving Chacala Bay, we saw at a distance the unmistakable blows signaling the presence of whales. When approaching, we realized there were several of them playing around. We were not alone, as a couple of small tourist boats were following along. This was the second time we had a very close encounter with whales, and this time it incredibly lasted almost two hours. We had a thrilling emotion when we saw one of them coming toward us and at the last minute dived under Zoe – we observed keeping our breath the air bubbles coming to the surface along the sides of the boat!
Following the previous itinerary, we returned to Isla Peña and to Punta Mita before getting back to marina Puerto Vallarta on March 4th.
We were pleased to show Amedeo the malecon of Puerto Vallarta, and to enjoy our last dinner together, as he was going to fly back to Rome the day after. Fortunately he was only partially affected by the flight cancellations that started happening in those days, and that a few days later became the norm due to the restrictions related to the corona virus epidemy. Another friend of us, Clara, who was supposed to join us for two weeks, had to cancel the trip altogether because the uncertainty of the situation.