We left early (well actually not so early) one morning on a tour boat out of Puerto Vallarta and even ignored the haze that was a permanent part of the view against the striking mountains and even more evident from the ocean side of the world. Today was a day of adventure. We were going to the Marietas Islands of Jacques Cousteau fame. He had visited it once...a long time ago... and the islands are perhaps now not so special because of the thousands of tourists that visit every year and the hundreds that 'ooo' and 'aww' over it every day. The Mexicans still carefully protect this bird sanctuary from the mass loving that could destroy it. The name Marietas came from a tale of a lost maiden, Marieta, who had been found on the rocks.
It was a good 45-minute ride over calm seas before we could begin to see the harsh chalky shapes in the distance as the islands are 20 miles from the city. The three islands are small and sit at the mouth of Banderas Bay which is the largest bay in Mexico.
This trip is not worthwhile if you are looking for something soft and lovely and quiet. The waters were murky and while we saw fish we saw more than our share of green gunk, the ocean was cold, and there were more people than animals! (I have carefully avoided that impression with my photos.) They market a "mysterious hidden beach" to tourists which is actually small and disappointing. I was nostalgic for a pre-tourist Mexico that hubby and I might have explored years ago on a private sail boat, but that Mexico was history as were the pirates that had frequented the Tres Marietas so many years ago. Still I had come with a different agenda and took this boat trip to see a bird that was on my bucket list.
The "fragrance" of birds became stronger as we got closer to the sanctuary. Fortunately. the surge of waves was manageable for both boat and swimmer.
Caves large and small revealed how the ocean was slowly wearing away at these rocks formed so long ago by volcanic activity. Most of the caves have been caused by bombing and explosives years ago before an international outcry made the islands protected. While we were able to swim to the beach we were not allowed on any other part of the island. The Mexican guides were very knowledgeable and careful in protecting both tourists and the islands.
As we got closer to the lee side and you can see the birds dotting the rock outcroppings. The next post is on my "bucket bird."