Kelp forests of San Benitos by Simon Ager

The inspiring Kelp forests of San Benitos

Islas San Benitos is one of my favourite place to take our guests. I especially enjoy taking our European guests there, as it is always a treat for them to experience the playfulness of the large population of sea lions and Guadalupe fur seals that live at San Benitos. Actually, many of our European guests have never encountered a sea lion on a dive before and this, of course, makes it that much more of a treat for them, and for us as well.

For the past two days we have been enjoying the enchanted kelp forests of San Benitos. Thick, healthy kelp sprouting up from a rocky bottom full of cracks and crevices to explore, surrounded by water a deep blue colour, broken only by the suns rays as they penetrate the overhead canopy. Add to this picture a half a dozen playful young sea lions zipping effortlessly around, above, below you. Then hovering in mid water inches from your cameras dome port as they inspect their reflection, before torpedoing away so quickly it seems almost impossible.

Cut to the next scene: the smiling face of a 6 metre great white shark swimming directly towards you as you stand perched on top of a 10 ft long white shark cage, nothing separating the two of you except the crystal clear blue waters of Guadalupe. It feels like the shark is only a few feet away from you by the time it decides to veer slightly off course, passing so close you can see the deep blue iris of its eyes and the ridges of its razor-sharp teeth. Wait…that’s tomorrow.

The inspiring kelp forests of San Benitos and the awe-inspiring white sharks of Guadalupe, a classic Nautilus Explorer combo adventure. (And they pay me too!)

Surface conditions at San Benitos: winds light, seas less than 1 m (3 ft), skies mostly sunny with some cloudy periods, air temp 20-25C

Diving conditions: Viz ranging from 10m (33ft) to 24m (80ft), water temp 19C (68F), current mild to strong.

–Captain Gordon

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