A BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS TRIP
year's trip at a glance: we snorkeled with sailfish and dove
in some beautiful cenotes when the wind howled.
Mexico's windy winter weather played havoc with our plans to
chase sailfish everyday but fortunately, half of the time we
did make it out and the birds and sailfish were waiting!
Sailfish diving is never an easy proposition. Firstly you
need calm winds to be able to reach the area where the
sailfish hunt sardines. Then you need frigate birds. The
birds lead you to the bait balls that only they can see from
their high vantage. If the surface is choppy or if its
raining heavily the birds stay home and then there is no way
to find the action.
If the environmental conditions are perfect you still need
the right predators. Often you'll find frigate birds
circling and scooping up fish but when you reach them, it
turns out that they are following dolphins attacking
sardines. Dolphins are messy eaters. They have a nasty habit
of driving off the sailfish and then breaking up their
nicely formed bait ball. They don't interact well with
divers in that scenario so when you see dolphins its time to
Fortunately, on this occasion, the winds abated, the rain
stopped, the frigate birds flew, the dolphins stayed away
and the sailfish pinned enough hapless sardines against the
surface to create a spectacle not to be missed.
By the end of the the third day, everyone on the trip had
hunting sailfish fixed in their memories and we were ready
to spend our last windswept day, deep in the Yucatan forest
diving in Cenotes.
visited three different cave systems on our two windy days.
The first was Chakmool - a large multi-room cavern with
pockets of cascading stalactites that left our divers awed.
On our final day, we dove Angelita Cenote and then Car Wash
Cenote. Angelita is a 50m deep cavern with sheer rock walls
that plummet downwards into a layer of hydrogen sulfate. Its
a very eerie feeling as you descend into the milky hydrogen
sulfate layer at 30m only to reappear in the darkened world
a few meter below it.
After a quick lunch we headed to Carwash Cenote. Here the
cavern does not go very deep before reaching an ominous
skull sign warning divers to turn back unless cave
certified. The reason to dive this particular cenote is to
enjoy the life and colour at its main entrance. Where most
cenotes are barren moonscapes, Carwash is filled with
beautiful lilies and thousands of tiny freshwater fishes.
Turtles are also common and lucky divers may even find an
illusive morolet's crocodile.
The cenote diving was so much fun that even if the weather
is good everyday, I'm considering making the cenotes a
permanent part of this trip in future years.
Join us next
year for our 2017 Sailfish Expedition and see for yourself
what this fascinating part of the world has to offer:
Expeditions Sailfish Adventure 2017