Carlos diving in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) is simply a spectacular
sight with a uniquely varied underwater ecosystem due to the
big range of water temperatures.
waters of the Sea of Cortez show distinct seasonal
changes. Although sheltered from open-ocean turbulence by the
Baja peninsula, the cold waters of the Pacific advance all the
way to the northern end of the Gulf in winter. Average
surface temperature for January is 63°F (17°C)
at diving depth. By late May divers can expect warm temperatures
that last until October. Midsummer water temperatures may soar
to an incredible 90°F (32°C)!
extreme range of water temperature creates a uniquely
diverse underwater ecosystem. Over 800 species of fish and 400
species of shelled invertebrates inhabit San Carlos waters for
at least part of the year. For divers, there is something different
to experience at every season. In winter Gray whales can be
seen off the coast while schooling hammerheads pass through
in November and December.
There is plenty to see during shore dives. The sargassum supports
an entire mini-ecosystem. When it dies off
as the water temperature rises in the spring, there are still
piles of boulders and rubble encrusted with red and purple coralline
algae that house Christmas tree worms, anemones, green moray
eels and Pacific octopus. Sandy patches are dotted with various
species of sea hares, stars and cucumbers.
contrast, summer brings pelagic dorado, skipjack and tuna, as
well as an increase in the numbers of tropical reef species,
including sea horses over 8 inches/20 cm tall. Visibility is
generally better in the summer, averaging 70 feet/21 meters
at offshore dive sites.
very popular San Carlos dive site is San Pedro Island
also known as Seal Island and is located near a deep underwater
canyon where one of the largest sea lion colonies in the Gulf
of California can be seen. Late spring and summer are the best
times to interact with the newly born pups. The island is surrounded
by deep water, so pelagics as well as the full complement of
reef fish are plentiful, and visibility can
be more than 100 feet/30 meters.
but not least, for experienced divers it's possible to dive
the submarine USS H-1 which sunk on March 12, 1920. Locating
the wreck is one of the great adventures in Baja diving.