Category

Islas Coronado

Whales at the Coronado Islands, Mexico

Islas Coronado, Mexico, Underwater Life

Whales visit the Coronado Islands in Mexico throughout the year. During winter months, gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) pass by the islands, first southbound and a few months later traveling north, during their annual migration between Baja California and the Bering Sea. Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) may be found at the Coronados year-round but spring and summer months are the best times to see them in the islands, especially if there is the presence of krill which does occur from time to time. All of the photos below were taken at the Coronado Islands.

Fin whale dorsal fin.  The fin whale is named for its tall, falcate dorsal fin.  Mariners often refer to them as finback whales.  Coronado Islands, Mexico (northern Baja California, near San Diego), Balaenoptera physalus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Fin whale dorsal fin. The fin whale is named for its tall, falcate dorsal fin. Mariners often refer to them as finback whales. Coronado Islands, Mexico (northern Baja California, near San Diego).
Image ID: 12769
Species: Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

A blue whale blows (exhales, spouts) as it rests at the surface between dives.  A blue whales blow can reach 30 feet in the air and can be heard for miles.  The blue whale is the largest animal on earth, reaching 80 feet in length and weighing as much as 300,000 pounds.  North Coronado Island is in the background, Balaenoptera musculus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

A blue whale blows (exhales, spouts) as it rests at the surface between dives. A blue whales blow can reach 30 feet in the air and can be heard for miles. The blue whale is the largest animal on earth, reaching 80 feet in length and weighing as much as 300,000 pounds. North Coronado Island is in the background.
Image ID: 09497
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

A blue whale raises its fluke before diving in search of food.  The blue whale is the largest animal on earth, reaching 80 feet in length and weighing as much as 300,000 pounds.  North Coronado Island is in the background, Balaenoptera musculus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

A blue whale raises its fluke before diving in search of food. The blue whale is the largest animal on earth, reaching 80 feet in length and weighing as much as 300,000 pounds. North Coronado Island is in the background.
Image ID: 09484
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Gray whales traveling south to Mexico during their winter migration.  The annual migration of the California gray whale is the longest known migration of any mammal, 10,000 to 12,000 miles from the Bering Sea to Baja California, Eschrichtius robustus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Gray whales traveling south to Mexico during their winter migration. The annual migration of the California gray whale is the longest known migration of any mammal, 10,000 to 12,000 miles from the Bering Sea to Baja California.
Image ID: 29049
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Blue whale rounding out at surface, North Coronado island in background, Balaenoptera musculus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Blue whale rounding out at surface, North Coronado island in background.
Image ID: 02224
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

A blue whale blows (exhales, spouts) as it rests at the surface between dives.  A blue whales blow can reach 30 feet in the air and can be heard for miles.  The blue whale is the largest animal on earth, reaching 80 feet in length and weighing as much as 300,000 pounds.  South Coronado Island is in the background, Balaenoptera musculus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

A blue whale blows (exhales, spouts) as it rests at the surface between dives. A blue whales blow can reach 30 feet in the air and can be heard for miles. The blue whale is the largest animal on earth, reaching 80 feet in length and weighing as much as 300,000 pounds. South Coronado Island is in the background.
Image ID: 09498
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Garibaldi Fish, Coronado Islands, Mexico

Islas Coronado, Mexico, Underwater Life, Underwater Photography

The most easily recognized, and typically the most prolific, fish at Mexico’s Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado) is the brilliant orange Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus). Some underwater areas of the Coronado Islands are urchin barrens (reef areas taken over by fields of sea urchins and devoid of most other marine life) so the recipe for garibaldi photos is: 1) smash a few urchins, 2) wait for the garibaldis to dive in for a feast, 3) snap photos. Cheers and thanks for looking!

Garibaldi, Coronado Islands, Hypsypops rubicundus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Garibaldi, Coronado Islands.
Image ID: 02511
Species: Garibaldi, Hypsypops rubicundus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Garibaldi juvenile, vibrant spots distinguish it from pure orange adult form, Coronado Islands, Hypsypops rubicundus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Garibaldi juvenile, vibrant spots distinguish it from pure orange adult form, Coronado Islands.
Image ID: 01930
Species: Garibaldi, Hypsypops rubicundus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

California Sea Lions, Coronado Islands, Mexico

Islas Coronado, Mexico, Sea Lion, Underwater Life, Underwater Photography

Some of my favorite diving with California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) has taken place at Mexico’s Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado). The Coronados are a small group of undeveloped rocky islands just offshore of Tijuana, Mexico and only about an hour boat ride south of San Diego. Seemingly barren, the islands are in fact loaded with marine life, including the clown princes of the Pacific, sea lions. Here are a few of my better photos of these noble and beautiful creatures. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

California sea lions, Coronado Islands, Zalophus californianus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

California sea lions, Coronado Islands.
Image ID: 02160
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

California sea lion, Zalophus californianus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

California sea lion.
Image ID: 02943
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

California sea lion, Coronados Islands, Zalophus californianus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

California sea lion, Coronados Islands.
Image ID: 00956
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

California sea lion pup starving during 1997-8 El Nino event, Coronado Islands, Zalophus californianus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

California sea lion pup starving during 1997-8 El Nino event, Coronado Islands.
Image ID: 02417
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

California sea lion colony, Los Coronado Islands, Zalophus californianus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

California sea lion colony, Los Coronado Islands.
Image ID: 03077
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Aerial Photos of Islas Coronado, the Coronado Islands, Baja California, Mexico

Aerial Photography, Islas Coronado, Mexico

Aerial Photos of the Coronado Islands, Baja California, Mexico

These new aerial photos of the three main islands in Las Islas Coronado, offshore of Baja California not far from Tijuana (Mexico) and San Diego, came from a nice flight a few weeks ago during a high pressure system, which calmed the ocean surface thus allowing some of the submarine rocky reef structure to be visible. Thanks for looking!

North Coronado Island, Mexico, northern point looking south with Middle and South Islands in the distance, aerial photograph, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

North Coronado Island, Mexico, northern point looking south with Middle and South Islands in the distance, aerial photograph.
Image ID: 29052
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

North Coronado Island, Mexico, southern point looking north, aerial photograph, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

North Coronado Island, Mexico, southern point looking north, aerial photograph.
Image ID: 29053
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

South Coronado Island, Mexico, northern point showing underwater reef structure, aerial photograph, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

South Coronado Island, Mexico, northern point showing underwater reef structure, aerial photograph.
Image ID: 29061
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

South Coronado Island, Mexico, southern point looking north, Middle and North Islands in the distance, aerial photograph, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

South Coronado Island, Mexico, southern point looking north, Middle and North Islands in the distance, aerial photograph.
Image ID: 29063
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Middle Coronado Island, Mexico, looking north with San Diego and Point Loma in the distance, aerial photograph, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Middle Coronado Island, Mexico, looking north with San Diego and Point Loma in the distance, aerial photograph.
Image ID: 29059
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

South Coronado Island, Mexico, eastern side, Middle and North Islands in the distance, aerial photograph, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

South Coronado Island, Mexico, eastern side, Middle and North Islands in the distance, aerial photograph.
Image ID: 29066
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

If you like these, please check out more aerial photography or photos of the Coronado Islands in Mexico.

North Island, Coronado Islands, Mexico

Aerial Photography, Islas Coronado, Mexico

From a recent flight over Islas Coronados (Coronado Islands, Mexico) recently, seen here is the western exposure of North Coronado Island viewed from the southwest. Do you see the crack between the rightmost tip of the island and the main island? There is a narrow submerged passageway through that crack from the east to the west side of the island which we have swam through while diving. If the water in the slot is calm, there are often sea lions hanging out there. On this day you can see that the wave energy was high and it would have been a ass-over-teakettle tumbler of a ride for a diver to swim through that passageway.

North Coronado Island, aerial photo, viewed from the south, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

North Coronado Island, aerial photo, viewed from the south.
Image ID: 21317
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

The Coronados Islands, Their History and Environment

Islas Coronado, Mexico

Yesterday a copy of the new book, The Coronados Islands, Their History and Environment (Las Islas Coronados, una Historia y un Entorno Natural) arrived in our mailbox. It is very well done, the best treatment of the Coronado Islands (Las Islas Coronados) I have yet seen. Although I was contacted by the editors of the book for images related to the ecology and animal life at the Coronado Islands a couple of years ago, yesterday was the first time I had a chance to actually see the publication, which is printed in both Spanish and English with high quality printing and binding.

The book has some history. In 2003, Chevron proposed installing a $650 million liquified natural gas receiving terminal near the Coronado Islands, which are only about 8.5 miles from the Tijuana coast and just a 1-2 hour boat ride from San Diego. The book is derived from a large body of data that was collected during the permit process and includes interesting material about the history and ecology of the islands along with many photographs. Chevron received approval for the project but ultimately withdrew for economic reasons. Fortunately, the book was still produced and is now a publicly accessible distillation of all that research data. It is being distributed at no cost to many educational institutions in Mexico.

Check out the cover. The top photo showing all three islands was made by Alfonso Caraveo Castro, who contributed most of the images in the book. The middle photo, of fishes swimming in a kelp forest, and bottom photo, of a huge blue whale raising its fluke out of the water before diving, are mine.

California Sea Lions, Baja California

Islas Coronado, Mexico, Sea Lion

Each winter California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) gather in the hundreds on the rock slopes of North Coronado Island, just south of the US/Mexico border. The bottom diving is unremarkable here the remainder of the year, but when the sea lions are gathered in such numbers it is worth making the short boat trip for a dive with them.

California sea lions, hauled out at rookery/colony, Baja California, Zalophus californianus

California sea lions, hauled out at rookery/colony, Baja California.
Image ID: 05042
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus

Keywords: California sea lion photo, rookery, colony, Zalophus californianus, Coronado Islands, Islas Coronado.