January 2010 - Isla Isabella
On Saturday, Jan. 2, we pulled up the anchor at La Paz to begin our journey south and east toward the mainland and
Puerto Vallarta.  Retracing our previous path, we made overnight stops at Espiritu Santo, Los Muertos, and Los Frailes
before jumping off to cross the Sea of Cortez.  We left Los Frailes mid-morning and arrived at Isla Isabella the next
morning.  The island is situated about 30 miles from the mainland and is now a National Wildlife Preserve managed by
the Univ. of Guadalajara.  Jacques Cousteau filmed the pristine habitat here about 35 years ago.
 
Isla Isabella was once a volcano
and the main cove on the island,
as seen here, was the caldera.  Its
almost a creepy looking place.  
The pinnacle is actually a
separate small island behind
Isabella as seen below.
      
During most of the year, the island
serves as a fish camp as these
"cabins" are rented out to fisherman
with panga boats.  Its about  a two
hour run to San Blas for groceries
by panga ... when the seas are calm.  
The fisherman working on their
nets were friendly but both the
young pelican on the beach and
the iguana ignored our presence
altogether.
Although the mother was motionless,
this chick was making a real ruckus.
This particular decoy surprized me
by moving an eye just before the
picture was taken.  However, his
beak remained perfectly motionless
in this position while I completely
circled him taking pictures.  

It was a hot afternoon so we
guessed that these Frigate Birds
might just be cooling off by holding
their wings out in the breeze.   
This guy turned his head to watch
very intently as I took his picture ...  
nothing else even twitched.

We never did get an answer to the
frozen motion act.
The caldera is more obvious from this
view.  The anchorage was rocky on the
bottom with enough surge to make it
uncomfortable so we left at sunset to
head for San Blas.
Some day this will be a cave and then
an arch.
As we started to walk up a hill toward
what might be a visitors center, there
appeared to be cheap plastic birds
placed in trees at eye level like so
many Christmas ornaments ...  
announcing the wildlife preserve.  
Blue-footed boobies share the
island with the frigates but its not
necessarily a friendly relationship.
Boobies fish as a flock and are very
good at it while the frigates are
basically pirates.  The much larger  
frigate dive-bombs the boobies,
forcing them to drop their prey.  
Then the acrobatic frigate swoops
down to catch the food before it hits
the water.   
JoAnn with Roberto who showed
us around the island.  Roberto is a
student at Guadalajara who comes
over to the island to fish and make
money from Gringos like us.  
Roberto knew the island well as he
use to come to Isabella as a boy
with his dad during the summer to
fish.  He even showed us the cabin
they always stayed in.  Nice guy!      
   
Almost all of the trees on the island are
lime trees from an earlier period when
they were grown commercially.
Boobies dig an indentation in the dirt
for a nest and keep the egg warm
with their feet.  Both male and female
spend time with the egg.