Isla San José

Tags: Baja, Isla San José, Mexico, San Evaristo, sailing

Date: April 6, 2024

After some days in San Evaristo, we headed out to Isla San José which is a large island off mainland Baja. Here are a couple of pictures taken during the evening:

We saw some interesting ducks off the island. They are very small for ducks, but they congregate in large numbers very close to each other on the surface:

Then suddenly, almost all of them dive:

A bit later they all resurface. It is quite a spectacle. The mountains in the background above are on the Baja peninsula.

During our time in the Sea of Cortex, we have seen a number of rocket launches. Here is a picture taken at San Evaristo:

The keen stargazer will notice that the rocket is just passing the Orion constellation. It is hard to take good pictures in low light on a boat that moves a bit.

The rockets are SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets launced from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Their trajectory is just off the Baja peninsula on the Pacific side to keep the rocket over water in case it crashes. They pass us around 8 minutes into their flight at an altitude of around 140 km. The high altitude is why we can see them even though they are on the other side of Baja relative to us.

At Isla San José we saw another launch:

The reason for the bright tail after the rocket is probably that the launch is shortly after sunset, so the sun has not set at 140 km altitude yet and the water vapor from the burnt fuel crystallizes, are hit by the remaining sunlight, and can be seen from the ground. It is quite spectacular.

Again, you can see Orion in the background here:

Both launches were of Starlink satellites.