Cabo Pulmo and Playa los Arbolitos

5 & 6 July 2013

Cabo Pulmo is a marine reserve protecting the only coral reef in the Sea of Cortez. A few kilometers south of the Cabo Pulmo Dive Resort and the small town surrounding it is a great little beach called Playa los Arbolitos. They have restrooms and a shower, the best snorkeling available in the area without a boat, and great beach camping, for $2.50 per person per day. It’s a great little place. It also allows access to the point that juts out south of Cabo Pulmo and north of Bahía Frailes, which we’ll call Punto Frailes but it is not labeled on the maps we’ve seen. This area features deep water in closer to shore (100 fathoms within a mile of shore in several places and some submarine canyons as well). It is also in the area where the warmer waters of the Sea of Cortez are influenced with cooler water from the Pacific, so we thought some points here could provide good places for seawatches. As it turns out a bit of 3rd class scrambling will get you atop about a 20 meter tall rocky head. We headed out in the afternoon and had a nice breeze and good southeast wind. There was a strong movement of birds but they were well offshore and there was substantial heat haze as well as wind shaking the scope. We were able to see a lot of boobies heading past and what were almost certainly a couple groups of Black-vented Shearwaters. There were also some birds that looked a lot like Pink-footed or light morph Wedge-tailed Shearwaters but conditions and distances didn’t allow us to be certain they weren’t boobies that were just flying low into the wind. We headed back out the next morning and despite sweltering heat and still wind had great conditions and in a half hour were able to see 300+ Sooty Shearwaters, 12+ Black Storm-petrels and 1 Least Storm-petrel within reasonable distance of shore. This is definitely a good site for seawatching. The south side of the point, if accessible from the north end of Bahia Frailes, ought to be excellent as well but we do not know what access is possible there.

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