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We swim with the friendliest giant mantas in the world, and go face to face with great white sharks. Read about our experiences, guest comments and more here at the Nautilus at Sea blog! Plus special editorials by Captain Mike.

While I was enjoying this little one on one time I noticed the seal looking above my head in alarm. On turning to see what it was looking at I was immediately confronted by… Nov.7, 2011. Islas San Benito, Baja California, Mexico

November 22, 2011 Written by

copyright 2011 NautilusExplorer

Capt.’s log.  Cedros Island :   Guadalupe fur seals and  northern elephant seals

After spending the last two days diving in the beautiful kelp forests of San Benitos, today we made the 22 nautical mile transit to neighbouring Isla Cedros to sample some of it’s local wildlife. We started the day at the north point where lies a healthy kelp bed full of submerged rocks covered in sea grass and palm kelp, and surrounded by hundreds of fish,
Sealions and harbour seals. The visibility was noticeably lower than at San Benitos, but the amount of life in this kelp forest more than made up for it. Hundreds of blue-eyed kelp bass, giant sheepshead, bright orange garibaldi, and assorted other fishes surrounded us as we made our way into this underwater forest. Several harbour seals could be seen eyeing me with a mixture of curiosity and shyness from behind giant kelp fronds, before swimming quickly away. At one point during the dive however one seal, a little more bold than the others, came directly towards me before stopping just a few feet away and sort of plopping itself down on the bottom, where it sat and stared at me. While I was enjoying this little one on one time I noticed the seal looking above my head in alarm. On turning to see what it was looking at I was immediately confronted by two very large sealions, much bigger than me and seemingly more interested in letting me know I was on their turf than playing with me and my seal friend. After a few minutes of the big sealions buzzing us while the seal and I sat hunkered down they finally left us alone. The seal departed shortly thereafter, without much of a goodbye after what I thought was a bit of a bonding experience.  On my way back to the Nautilus Explorer I encountered several more playful sealions, as well as several guitarfish and bat rays swimming through the kelp. For the afternoon we tucked into a quiet little protected bay, anchoring just off a rocky shoreline home to a sealion rookery as well as Guadalupe Fur Seals and Northern Elephant Seals. A sandy bottom under the boat met a field of seagrass, before leading up to beautiful patches of thick kelp in 10-15 ft of water where the sealion pups waited eagerly for us. As soon as we reached the kelp we had over a dozen young sealions dancing excitedly all around us, swooping, diving and jumping as only young sealions can do. Schools of silvery baitfish, hundreds of kelp bass, and dozens of small rays hiding in the sand near the kelp as the sealions, young and old, danced around us lent the feeling of swimming in an aquarium. Now we are heading back to San Benitos for a final two dives there tomorrow before heading west to Isla Guadalupe and 4 days of epic white shark diving!!!

Captain Gordon Kipp

Diving conditions: water temp 19C (66F), visibility 10m (33ft), mild current
Surface conditions: clear skies, air temp 27C (80F) during the day, 21C (70F) at night

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