Guadalupe Island, Giants Fortress

Guadalupe Island is located 260 km west of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico and due to its biological and ecological relevance was declared a Biosphere Reserve and is part of the National Registry of Protected Natural Areas (SEMARNAT, 2005). Thus, a permit is required to be able to visit the island, granted by CONANP (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas) in Ensenada. The island, despite its remoteness with the mainland, is not uninhabited. In it is a detachment of the Navy-Navy of Mexico, located in the south of the island, which changes personnel each month with the arrival of Boat of the Navy, this boat also carries provisions (water, food, and more)

To the fishermen of the island, and to the people of a non-governmental organization dedicated to the conservation of the terrestrial part, located in the upper part of the island (GECI).

This ship is one of the ways in which investigators can arrive to the island, leaving the port of Ensenada. On that occasion we have to board the ship of the navy, “El Farias”, which incidentally we joined the task of raising all the provisions to the ship. After this work, the long journey to the island begins, moving away from the port and enjoying watching a sea lion swim through the waves caused by the boat. After a couple of hours of sailing, you can see solid ground around the boat, we are now

In the immensity of the Pacific Ocean! These are the first hours of a trip that would last around 18 hours … so among fishermen returning to the island to work the lobster season after a vacation, sailors who went to Isla Guadalupe and Isla Cedros to relieve their Similar in the corresponding camp, we tended on the deck to spend a very cold and wobbly night.

After several of the people who were on board put the dizziness of their life by the movement of the ship, around 8 in the morning finally in the distance we observed the Island. Part north, with some rays of light crossing them, allowing us to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunrises.

Arriving at the West course, where fishermen live, the boat anchors about 800 meters from the beach, in fact here is when the intense day begins. It begins by lowering all the gasoline boxes, boxes of food, construction material, and other things that they have sent, all the fishermen that are in the island, go up to the pangas (boats with motors outboard) and in couples they make trips From the beach to the ship of the navy, carrying all the things that have been sent to the camp.

After completing this long and intense day, he begins a kind of celebration to rest and relax from the arduous month of work.

This routine is done month by month.

Our stay in the Island was in the West field, there we had to live with the fishermen, which are very kind. Elviz allowed us to sleep in her house, and Dona Rosa delighted us with her rich lobster dishes (this crustacean season at that time).

The island also extracts quality abalone in season (February-May), which is a delicious delicacy of great value in the market.

In addition to living together and enjoying the pleasant company of fishermen, we share the stage with the great animals that inhabit Isla Guadalupe, “marine fortress of majestic animals”.

Among the species highlighted in this place is the fine wolf of Guadalupe, an endemic species of the island, which with a penetrating black eyes shows a great sympathy and enjoys sunbathing on the volcanic rocks that serve as a cot.

On the other hand, there are the incredible elephant seals, they make great migrations year after year from the frozen waters of the North Pacific to the warm waters of Isla Guadalupe, I say warm for them, because for us meant to wear a neoprene suit of at least 7mm, since the temperature is between 18 and 20 degrees. These elephants migrate to give birth to their young, then later, when the little ones grow enough, return to the cold northern waters and have a better diet.

Within the waters of La Lupita (Isla Guadalupe), there are landscapes of enormous seaweed, which form large grasslands and forests of marine palms, giving a great show with the magical blue of these waters, where you will be accompanied by characters such as green cabrillas, Or the old copetonas, bat stripe and colorful garibaldis.

Part of what we came to do was to assess the state of the fish community. We perform visual censuses to generate the baseline, that is, as the first photograph of the community, so that in future monitoring we can detect if the state of the community has improved or worsened.

These waters, besides harboring these underwater forests, in the immensities of the blue room, are the waters of the majestic Molacho, a name given by fishermen to the impressive White Shark. We, during the monitoring of research, had a chance to see the white shark a few times, a beautiful animal that shows its strength and respect in its large size. But this is not the only way to see this shark.

Since 2000 there are cage dive service providers to observe the great target. They are live boats aboard that leave the port of Ensenada and practice this activity, where even though you are inside a cage, it is impressive to see him swim around, which sometimes is not only one but two or more.

During the months of July to September it is more common to see males and juveniles, which are about 2 to 3 m in length, quite active and curious, and from time to time appears Bruce, a male of just over 4 m Length, which is common to observe year after year.

In October and November, the giants appear, it is the moment when the females arrive on the island, and if you have the opportunity to see Lucy, Tzitzimitli or Deep Blue you will enjoy a great show, since they are females over 5m and Moreover, Deep Blue measures more than 6m, one of the largest sharks seen around the world. Currently information generated by Mexican researchers Mauricio Hoyos and Omar Santana, indicates that in the last decade have registered little more than 200 sharks that visit the island. These move around areas of aggregation of elephant seals (one of their favorite majors along with tunas) and by season migrate between the coast and waters in the middle of the Pacific and then return to the Island, which they prefer for the excellent conditions . Which are not only good for them, but also for the rest of the species that share this natural sanctuary, for that and more we must preserve and care for this fortress of giants.

 

 

Arturo Ayala Bocos

 

Ecosystems and Conservation (ECO)