Life in the Gulf of California Hope Spot

SeaLion and Fish(c)KipEvansMissionBlueAG4V0182

The Gulf of California, a 700-mile narrow sea between Baja and mainland Mexico, is home to over 800 species of fish, 2000 invertebrates, as well as whales, dolphins, sea turtles and sea lions. The area includes 256,000 hectares of mangroves, 600,000 hectares of wetlands and 70% of Mexican fisheries. Simply put, this area is one of the most productive ocean regions in the world. That is why it is a Mission Blue Hope Spot.

Vibrant waters of the Gulf of California

On the recent Mission Blue Hope Spot expedition to the Gulf of California, we had a chance to dive with the local marine life. Since Dr. Sylvia Earle was leading the expedition, we also had the opportunity to compare marine life in the Gulf of California with what it was when Dr. Earle first dove here 60 years ago.

We saw many sea lions, those playful underwater acrobats. They look lazy, cantankerous on the rocks, but once they shimmy into the water their natural adaptation to the water environment becomes obvious: they are fast and can turn their bodies – which can be hundreds of pounds – on a dime. Sea lions are also extremely social and will come investigate nearby divers, swimming right up to them, looking them over and often nibbling on a diver’s fin for fun. Be careful though, if a big bull comes up and barks in your face, you may want to back off, suggested Kip Evans, Mission Blue’s Director of Expeditions.

A playful sea lion nibbles on a diver’s fin.

The Gulf of California is a caricature of dramatic topography and bathymetry. The water is super deep in the central and southern regions and the narrow sea is abutted by high, dusty mountains. At the northern end, where the —> Read More