La Paz, Mexico
Tucked on the inner coast of Baja California, this resort town is an excellent and easy place to get a taste for big-animal diving. California sea lions are the stars of the show; although they are in residence year-round, the best time is mid-September through mid-November, when the new pups make their first unsupervised dives, and are at their most mischievous, curious and cute.
The main site for sea lions is Los Islotes, a group of small, rocky islands, but you will see the playful mammals on many of the popular sites. Many sites also have big schools of fish, and keep an eye out for predators like sharks and diving birds. There is also dense coral growth in places, which harbors an interesting range of species. Hawkfish are great posers, morays are plentiful and macro-fiends should keep an eye out for the endemic tube blennies, including the beautiful signal blenny displaying its saillike dorsal fin.
Finally, La Paz Bay is a feeding area for young whale sharks. If lucky, you might manage a dozen encounters in just an hour. — AM
The shallow water around Los Islotes can be full of particles, so try shooting some sea lions without flash. Use a fast shutter speed to freeze their acrobatic movements.
Make sea-lion photos more interesting by focusing on behavior. Direct your attention on the pups playing with toys, like starfish, interacting with each other or swimming through the schools of fish.
Tube blennies are smaller than people expect, so take an additional close-up lens so you can fill the frame with their cheeky expressions.
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Fun Baja Choose either single day or overnight dive trips in stunning Baja California Sur.