The World Aquarius...
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Jack Cousteau named the Cortez sea as the "World Aquarius", I wonder what he sow during his time considering that the great french explorer definition is still true for our present days. The sea life concentration on this water is huge, one of the richest see where I had the luck to do Spear fishing.
This areas are well know among the international fisherman community because here many world records where scored; another paradise where dreams "come true", where encounter big ocean blue giants it happens almost every time we hit the water.
Another paradise on Heart where nature
reigns untamed and supreme; the great Mexican desert outdoor that meets the blue Cortez Sea water in an imaginary line that divide 2 inhospitable worlds with miles and miles of sunny beaches send.
An almost uninhabited cost line where, alongside few main cities as Baja California Sur capital, La Paz, just few small villages fill the Mexican desert greatness in a windy, dry and hot landscape "kissed" by Cortez sea blue immensity.
Cortez Sea, due to its unique geography nature, is a perfect natural Breeding Ground for so many sea species, fish and mammals, a huge variety of pelagic as well many cetaceans species: blue, sperm whales, killer whales
and so many more. An astonishing sea life concentration that makes me understand why Cousteau called this amazing sea as "World Aquarius...."
For European Union Passport as USA and Australia citizens, for a period of time of 90 days maximum, NO visa is required.
Mexican Pesos (MXN), rates exchange are: 16 MXN x 1 EUR, 12 MXN x 1 USD $
Flying to Mexico City, from Europe it takes 15 hours about, then a second fly from the capital to La Paz that takes a couple of hour about.
From USA, California, daily flights connect main airports to Mexico City or Cabo San Luca, fly takes 2 to 4 hours about.
Aero Mexico Airline connects the Mexican Capital with La Paz, the route is daily and well served.
Once purchasing the fly ticket remember to ask about because Aero Mexico Airline still requires the way back ticket reconfirmation.
Once arrived in La Paz we must travel South (North if we arrive to Cabo San Luca) to El Sergento small village. As I am going to explain in details, my Cortez Sea and "Pacific Cost"
point of reference is Mr. Chay Ochoa with his "seasniperbaja.com".
Assuming that we are going to enjoy his services, Chay is going to welcome us to La Paz or Cabo San Luca airport, driving by his huge car
to his home in La Ventana bay, El Sergento small village where we can settle. One hour and a half by road from La Paz, 4 from Cabo San Luca, El Sergento is a very small village, a few small houses in the middle of no-where, Chay house settles a few mt. from the sea close by a long and remote beach where sea turtles lay eggs.
Chay house is well furnished with all comforts as I'm going to explain in details, it provides nice accommodations for a maximum of 15 guests.
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Mexico is a huge country, 2 different time zones, the capital, Mexico City, time zone is -6 hours than Greenwich, La Paz, Baja California Sur main city and El Sergento village are at -7 hours than Greenwich (GMT). We must remember that in most of Mexico day light saving time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in April. On the last Sunday in October areas on daylight saving time fall back to Standard Time at 2:00
a.m. local time.
Central Standard Time (CST) becomes Central Daylight Time (CDT), and so forth.
Mexico is not a "dangerous" zone, no particular vaccination is required, just an important precaution: drink clean water! Avoid raw food, ice and fresh vegetable unless we are sure about their origin, as example eating in small restaurant on the city streets. Contaminated water brings intestinal infections really common on this country with severe complications. Common hygiene precautions is what we need to keep us safe and healthy.
As I'm going to explain in details, assuming that we are going to enjoy "seasniperbaja" services,
we will be guests at Chay house equipped with all comforts possible; we will be able to cook our dinner, "seasniperbaja" will prepare for us nice breakfast and a "special lunch" that will be consumed in the boat while fishing. "seasniperbaja" high hygiene standards will spare us all diseases related to contaminated food and drink.
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La Paz is the main geographical point of reference, the city where we are going to lend, is the main Baja California South area airport in reach from Mexico City or other international destinations.
La Paz as Baja California Sur Capital, is a worldwide famous city for the incredible richness of its waters, sport fishing related industry and other sea sports activities; the Spear fishing world records scored on those waters are in fact many.
Speros who are coming here to experience those fantastic waters refer to La Paz as the location chosen, on Spear fishing forums we can read so many threads reports that mention La Paz as the report destination, in reality fisherman arrive to La Paz (or Cabo San Luca) cause is the only airport available in the area, moving then to southern spots as well famous Cabo San Luca areas on the far end of the Baja California sur peninsula, to "the shiny lights" and comforts that those spots offer. Those are touristic, crowded and really famous places, prices generally speaking are very high, over there we can find Spear fishing tour operators that offer a variety of services, some of them are well known worldwide and famous.
My reference for Cortez sea and Pacific Coast is my friends Mr.. Chay Ochoa, his wife Linda and their "seasniperbaja.com", their home in La Ventana Bay, in El Sergnento small village.
La Paz to La Ventana Bay takes about one hour and a half by car, El Serghento is located East from La Paz. Chay will come to the airport to welcome the new arrived speros bring them home by is huge car.
Geography, Weather, When:
La Ventana Bay is a magic place! El Serghento is a small village made by few houses, a remote location in the middle of the Mexican desert. One tar road, the main one to La Paz, then just dirt paths,
the desert send is everywhere, a few restaurants, a baseball stadium, some small stores and that is it, a quite place blasted by the wind. Forget about disco club and "shiny lights", after 20.00 p.m. El Sergeant looks like a ghostly town however we are not here to enjoy night life! Because those areas are worldwide famous about their rich waters, I was expecting much more tourism related to the sport fishing industry than in fact I found. Early on the morning I was surprised and happy to see really a few boats going fishing, I was expecting a much more crowded area than in fact is!
Surrounded by an untamed nature, all reference points are lost in a view that takes the breath away. The beach as an imaginary border between two infinite spaces: the blue sea in one side and to the other thousand of cactus to reign supreme the desert sand and the barren hills far way, beneath a bright sky that in winter doesn't know clouds. The effect is surreal, the view offers clear outline as an high definition picture, as example the clean and bright sky that belongs to the high mountains view on shiny days.
here we are at sea level! it never rains, exception for the hurricane season, humidity on the air has very low percentage, the desert and the sea create an unique micro-climate that generate an outstanding view. Find our self deep on this suggestion is an incredible feeling, there are no words to describe its oneness!
The area main problem is the wind, by the way the location is worldwide famous for other sea sports as the kat e-surf, in El Sergeant it is possible find schools that teach this unique sport. The wind turns up suddenly piking up with stronger squalls with obvious problem for sparrows that are fishing at open sea.
The winter begins in October, the desert climate generates sudden temperature changes typical of this environment. Temperature changes are especially severe during these months, the hot day turn in a cold night, minimum temperatures of 15-18 C (59 – 64.5 F.) proper clothes are required. Winter end on March and strong wind could be a real problem between January and February.
March To July is spring time, the weather is nice and warm, sudden temperature changes between day and night are less acute. Summer begins on July until September, these are the hottest months of the year. The temperature get hotter as well the sea water forcing many species to move to deeper and colder water.
August to September is the rain season, severe storms and sometime hurricane hit the coast, better to plane our adventure during other months.
The Organization at Land:
Once arrived in El Sergento find a guide will be easy, strolling around in the beach, you will easily spot fisherman going and coming back from fishing grounds, or have a beer in a stall and talk with locals. Generally speaking prices are average, a fishing trip wont cost a fortune as it does in some other Baja California South near areas.
I prefer to put myself in care of the huge experience of a guide that I met on a past trip.
As already mentioned my reference for Cortez sea and "Pacific Coast",
is my friend Mr. Chay Ochoa, his wife Linda and their "seasniperbaja.com". Linda is American from California, Chay is Mexican born in La Paz, he lived for long time in USA, 15 years ago about, from California where i lived and worked, Chay and Linda decided to go back to Mexico and settle down not far away from Chay native town. La Ventana Bay, El Sergento village where they build up a lovely home and managed to turn their huge love to the sea and to Spear fishing passion in a real job: "seasniperbaja.com" that offers services of professional guides specialized in Spear fishing activities.
Chay taught to El Sergento community what Spear fishing is, he made close friendship with local professional fishermen, some of them as Everardo, Cornelio and other are working with him as guides. We are talking about professional sea men born in El Sergento, they know Cortez sea every pinnacles and rocks as they know their pockets and do not forget that they are also very skilful speros, there are not better guides to entrust, believe me!
Chay and Linda and of curse Sophy, seasniper new mascot, a Pure bred Australian Cattle Dog "aka Blue Heeler" (you can see her in the photo), welcome their guests on their nice property. A wide and lush garden a few feet far from the sea and a wild beach where sea turtles use to lay eggs. The accommodations are sited in dependences , the Palapas, as Mexican use to call bungalows that you can see in photos.
Fell a sleep surrounded by the desert night darkness under a sky made by billions of stars that does not belong to the polluted and shiny cities sky, is another worth experience that people inured to cities concrete don't live often.
A wide "cantina" as the Mexicans refer to a laboratory, is furnished with every possible working tools and Spear fishing gears.
In this area, on a huge working table, we can deal with our gears maintenance.
Huge refrigerators, an uncounted number... ready to store the games landed that most of will be donated as charity as I'm going to explain.
A nice public toilet works for change wet suit and rinse gears.
Chay garden is well equipped: an area furnished with pulley and scale to weight the games and take the usual photos, a wide concrete table to cut and clean fish, some gas and wood barbecues and 2 food smokers to test delicious suppers, that is more then we can dream of!
Seasniperbaja will prepare for us daily nice breakfast that we can enjoy before go fishing and a nice lunch that we can consume in the boat. At evening, by seasniperbaja furnished kitchen, barbecue, smokers, etc, we can cook our supper, enjoy the games landed or decide to go out to enjoy a supper in some restaurant. Life in Mexico is very cheep, a nice supper in a good restaurant is going to cost 10 to 15 USD $ about.
Nothing is missed, the organization is perfect! Despite the professional organization, what impress me most is that Chay, first of all, loves the sea and Spear fishing and thank good in those countries it is still possible work for live and not the contrary as the modern western society teach us.
Chay succeeded in turning his huge passion to a job but he is still remains a "sea lover", his costumers stay and sleep in his home spending all day long all together, have a supper and sleep in the same area.
If the feeling is established, the friendship strengthen quick and easily. I felt joy looking at Chay and Linda style, do not accept every costumers in order to make money as much as possible, handle everybody as equal and fairly. They found out a proper way to deal between the job it self, business and relationship with costumer that in most of the occasion becomes a friend. In this lucky situation the proverb "business is business, friend is friend" is completely wrong!
Every time is time to leave I'm going to miss of curse the incredible encounter with blue giants that every season gives as a truly gift, those are really top spot waters, one of the most richest area that I ever the fortune to Spear fishing in, most important the outstanding beauty of this unique paradise and Chay and Linda friendship, there in El Sergento, at Linda place I fell at Home, I fell family!
Sell games landed by sport gears is strictly forbidden.
Pneumatics guns alongside every other propulsion systems are not permitted, the only one allowed is the rubber gun.
It is forbidden Spear fishing at night and with scuba gears.
A sport fishing license is required, it will be issue in a few working days. With Seasniperbaja services the fishing license is include, Chay will take care after, it costs 29 $ weekly, 45$ monthly, Chay is going to pay the fees for us, we can settle the bill once there.
Some species that belong to Serranidae Family as Giant, Goliath Grouper, etc (refer to "Reef Species Chart"), are protected species and could not be hunt.
Every given Spear fishing valuable species has a minimum number of pieces that can be hunt daily and a minimum weight allowed.
May those laws can change depending where we are Spear fishing, better to be informed and periodically refresh our informations about.
An experienced guide as Chay could answer our questions about, showing us in details which species we can hunt, which one are protected, how many pieces for a given species we can hunt daily and their minimum weight.
About Games Landed:
After a few fishing days most often we already end up with huge number of fish, so many Kg of raw meet and Chay refrigerators will be filled up fully. Seasniperbaja services included frozen fish, speros who would like bring some home will be able to do it, seasniper will pack the meet for you however, a small plastic box must be provided in order to pack the frozen meet in the right manner. Some country as United States allow to import raw meet while other don't, European country as Italy do not allow such so be aware of.
I would like to underline that no fish will be wasted, meet that we are not going to eat, it takes a soldiers platoon to enjoy all! It will be given as charity to the church in El Sergento, to an independent organization who is working locally with orphan children and indigents and give as present to El Sergento residents.
Sea- Geography and Fauna:
Cortez see is a "closed sea", is very deep, it looks like as the Mediterranean, waves are not long as they are in ocean, the tide rise is not significant, water does not retreat for many foots.
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This is a magic zone in a truly sense of the meaning, due to the very deep bottom and the unique conditions many different sea life species choose these waters for reproduction. At the beginning of November huge cetaceans gaggles: whales, killer whales, the ever-presents dolphins, sharks whale enter the bay for breeding, living there since March about.
In front of La Ventana Bay raises majestic the uninhabited Cherralvo Island, its reefs are home for Species such Groupers, Cabrilla, monster Cubera and other kind of Snapper (Mexican use to call Snaper as Pargo) and Huachinango, the red snapper that live Mexican waters.
Cerralvo is a gifted place, i never sow a huge concentration of marlin, it is possible to spot then almost everyday! Cerralvo is a truly paradise area with its magical places as Punta Note and Sud (Its North and South side points) with "La Renia" and "La Renita", a pinnacles a few miles North from Cerralvo uninhabited by a huge colony of sea lions. Here dreams can happen, encounter with ocean giants, with our game dream it becomes definitely possible.
About Blue waters Fishing: the island slopes that drop in the blue deep sea are majestic hunting ground for Wahoo, world record for the species was scored here, Ruster Fish, Yellow Tail King Fish, Hamber Jack, Dorado, Yellow Fin Tuna and Marlin.
Then the spots at open sea: the "sea mountains" as here fishermen call pinnacles with submerged top, the pinnacles choose as home by sea-lions colonies. The deep banks with their dizzy drop-off, amazing hunting ground for pelagic.
Other fantastic areas are the so called "Shark Buoys" better known as "F.A.D." (Fish Aggregation Device). Floats that local professional fishermen, tie by a big sand bag at deep bottom sea. A few feet under the buoy is tie a palm tree branch that gives home to small fish schools recreating in a short time the food chain. A smaller float is tie to the shark buoy with an huge hook for sharks. Unfortunately every shark species is heavily hunted: the fins are sold to Asian markets, meet appreciated by the locals...
Fortunately an environmentalist awareness begins to come out, since a few years fishing shark industry has been regulated, species are still heavily hunted however laws regulate specific periods in which hunt sharks is forbidden to give time to the species to breed.
About reef and species that live this environment, in this area the bottom sea is characterized by rocks and mostly send, there aren't any corals, anyway reefs are heavily populated.
The sedentary species above mentioned during the hot season (July - August) when the water is getting to warm, migrate to deeper areas, coming back when the water will turn again colder to bathymetry where free divers can dive.
Water visibility could be another problem, winter time is characterized by colder weather, 5 mm wet suit is needed. During the cold season visibility is always good, 20 Mt. U,p while during May and June, water gets warm and is often characterized by a very poor visibility, sometime just a few mt.
On the Species table above is shown the best periods of the year in which there is the most concentration pick for a given species pelagic and reef to. The lunar phases and their influence on the tides plays a fundamental role about games availability, most of if we are interesting in Blue water Hunting and pelagic.
If we decide to live an adventure with Seasniperbaja, the moon phases will be one of the first subject that Chay will mention, the arrival and departure dates possibly will be decided following the moon phase of the chosen month.
Despite the country and the guide chosen, when we are planning our adventure we must always keep in mind this fundamental aspect deciding the dates of our holiday as far as possible form the fool moon of the chosen month.
Check Extreme "Web links"
section where you can find helpful sites about worldwide forecast, winds and moon phases.
The most used type of boat here is called "Panga", 230 feet about hull with powerful 90 – 150 hp engine. The boats must be put on the water and bring on shore every day. In this area, luckily in a way, there aren't any small harbor or natural landing sites where let the boat at sea. The wind can be also a serious danger too.
The coast is characterized by long beach, almost no rocks, just sandy beach, the desert that ends where the sea begins. Indeed put the boat on the water is very comfortable, it could be done from almost every beach .
The boat will travel with us from El Sergento, we can carry it easily by Chay huge Ford Track with a 6000cc engine.
Moving easily with the possibility to carry the boat will allow us to move from a spot to another comfortably without loosing precious time in case we decide to cover particular fishing areas.
The most used type of boat here is called "Panga", fiberglass boat 230 feet about in length with powerful 90 – 150 hp engine. The boats must be put on the water and bring on shore every day. In this area, luckily in a way, there aren't any small harbor or natural landing sites where let the boat on the water. During winter wind could be a problem. The coast is characterized by long beach, almost no rocks, just miles and miles of sandy beach, the desert that ends where the sea begins.
Indeed put the boat on the water is very comfortable, it could be done from almost every where, with Seasniperbaja it is done in front of Chay house. During strong windy days almost every beach becomes unapproachable, the waves rising by the strong wind threats a safe boat landing.
During windy days indeed the boat will be put on the water at "Dead Bay", the only available landing zone of the area made by human. El Sergento to Dad Bay takes one hour by Chay car, a monster 6000 hp Ford that is very comfortable to pull the boat and move around with Spear Fishing bulky gears.
Wind could be a problem during the winter and of curse hurricane season, the rest of the year it wont mind much. During winter time, wind usually begins to blow strongly in afternoon, for the exception of some days in which we where forced to land the boat to Dead Bay and cause the wind we could not go far,
wind never mind us.
The Organization at Sea:
Every crew is made by 6 persons including Chay and a guide, indeed 3-4 speros maximum.
Chay will be always a member of the crew alongside a captain-guide, my favorite is Everardo however Chay can count on other experienced fishermen as Cornelio, Morales, etc. We are talking about people born in El Sergento, one life spent every days at sea, they know Cortez Sea every bottom rock, they have a deep confidence with those waters that help on translating the signs that sea gives allowing them to always find games. We must see them in action to understand how deep is their relationship with the element and their high skilful level. I can guarantee that with such experienced sea-men we are more than safe, we are talking about experienced speros too that know perfectly every thing about and the risk that fishing with a gun by free diving represents. Once we are on the water the boat remain close by waiting fisherman at the end of the drift or helping and helping once a game is speared. We are talking about very reliable professional that consider the safety matter always as first.
The technique most used is Blue waters Hunting, we can do reef hunting too, that is up to speros decisions. gears that we can not bring because the fly and weight limitation can be rent once there. Chay has plenty of weights belt and floats. We will bring with us the mask, fin and wet-suit, we can rent all the other gears from seasniperbaja, before living we must tell Chay what exactly we are going to rent.
For specifications about gears I remind you to the "Gear" section of my site.
About wet-suit: If we decide for a period between October and March better to bring with us a 3 mm (0,11 Inch) and a 5 mm (0,19 Inch) suit. Especially at the beginning of winter, in October temperatures fall quickly, after a few days in which the 3 mm we will be forced to change for the 5 mm. Outside the winter season a 3 mm suit is fine, water at 27 C (80.6 F) about however, because the conditions sometime are unpredictable, before living Chay will tell us exactly all the details about.
About every question that you would like to ask in details fell free please to "Contact Me".