Sea of Cortez, Mexico
The Sea of Cortez is easy to get to for a Californian, and incredibly rewarding. There's one liveaboard that enables you to travel around the midriff islands, seeing everything from the ubiquitous brown-cheeked blennies, the plentiful sea lions, the rarer whale sharks (we saw juveniles in Bahia de los Angeles).... and an incredible array of nudibranchs.
So varied are the species, that when I returned and commenced identifying each of my finds, I discovered I had captured a subspecies from the Saccoglossa elysia family that no one seems to precisely know.
All is not lost, however: my search led me to stumble upon an online forum for other divers who, like me, are just as obsessed with nudibranchs, the more than 6000+ species category of sea slug that populate oceans around the world with their wildly colorful patterns.
The Sea of Cortez is often seen as a destination for wide-angle photography, but some mediocre visibility and the companionship of an extremely mellow, slow-moving dive group of like-minded photographers enabled me to do what I love best for most of the trip: focus on the small stuff.
One topside highlight came on the last day as we returned back to our point of origination, Puerto Peñasco. A superpod of dolphins appearing to number in the thousands provided an hour of entertainment alongside our boat and stretching as far I could see to the horizon.