May 27, 2016 (Day 12)
We planned for an early launch so we could follow one of the pangas out of the bay. Bahia San Quintin is very shallow in places and there are no channel markers. While we were preparing to launch, only two boats took off, and we missed them. So, we headed out on our own. We had all eyes looking out in order to navigate through the maze of shallow areas to get to the mouth of the bay. JT was in charge of the GPS, Greg had the binoculars, and I was driving blindly. I could feel every time the motor would bounce off the bottom.
It was about a twenty-mile run out of the bay and up to Isla San Martin. It is a beautiful volcanic cone island with a spit of rocks that harbors a sandy beach. Again, I had to let the film crew off and stay on the boat. Nelson and Goldman took the “motor launch” called Todo Santos to this island during their expedition.
JT and Greg were almost immediately met by two Mexican biologists that were studying the island’s unique flora and fauna. A request for an interview was granted and they graciously escorted them around for a short tour. They caught and tagged a gopher snake during their walk. When Nelson and Goldman were here, they noted that gopher snakes and “alligator” lizards were found on the island in 1903.
The island is covered with a unique plant with velvety leaves commonly called a Live Forever, or Dudleya anthonyi. JT and Greg also came across an elephant seal hauled up onto the shore. In 1906, Nelson noted that “the island was once a breeding resort for the sea elephant and is now extinct there.” The elephant seal was once on the brink of extinction, being hunted for their rich blubber. Nelson also noted that they saw a few “leopard seals.” Either that was a miss-identification of a harbor seal or in 1905 the harbor seal was called referred to as a “leopard seal.” We did see a large group of harbor seals that took to the water as soon as we arrived on the island.
We arrived back at The Old Mill Restaurant and Hotel early in the afternoon, packed up our gear, and headed for the States.