More Mobula Rays on the short route to La Raz
It wasn’t, so we decided to content ourselves with the scenery. La Raza is backed by the highest terrain on Espiritu Santo, which tumbles down to a beach that’s half sand, half mangroves. After that, there is a long, shallow stretch of turquoise water over white sand leading up to the deeper water of the anchorage.
We mounted the electric motor on the dinghy and headed for the beach. We had the usual sights along the way plus we spotted a few small schools of barracuda, which were way too fast for us to chase down.
Exploring the immediate area
On the beach, there were lots of shells and pieces of coral as well as lots of fossils embedded in the rocks. We found lots of crabs and snails and gazillions of scurrying bugs in the surf called sea roaches – isopods that seem to be half rolly poly, half cockroach. They’re pretty revolting, but at least they seemed terrified of us and would dart into any nearby crevice as we approached. I had the thought that if they had any parasitic tendencies toward us like leeches do, for example, walking on the beach would be something we would almost never do.
100s of these Sea Slaters/Sea roaches (a species of Isopod) move on mass to avoid you as you walk along the splash zone - very disconcerting!
The mangroves are an important habitat for a lot of animals, most notably insects. When given a choice, we tend to avoid anchoring anywhere near them because, at the very least, unless there’s a lot of wind, they’ll drive us too crazy to be able to enjoy the evening. We were quite a way out from the beach, but we still ended up being pestered by a handful of tiny non-biting flies. They didn’t drive us inside and they mercifully all vanished right before sunset.
Since we hadn’t yet hoisted the dinghy, we took a big tour to the next anchorage and around one of the islands so that we could get a break from flailing around in an unsuccessful attempt to discourage them. It mostly worked. We were able to focus on the amazing geology and the wildlife. Above us, about a hundred Frigate Birds were circling in the thermals over the warmer land. By the time we made it back to the boat, others had joined in and the flock was probably numbering a thousand.
A dinghy tour of the rock points and nearby island