Author: Vicki Uthe
Alcatraz Island sits in San Francisco Bay just past the Golden Gate Bridge and has the famous prison on it that you can tour. It’s interesting and you can take audio tours of it but there is another, less known Alcatraz Island, in Mexico.
This Alcatraz sits just off shore (1.4 km) in Kino Bay and is roughly a 25-minute paddle from Kino Viejo, the small fishing village an hour west of Hermosillo, Sonora. The island is sacred to the indigenous Seri people as it is involved in their creation story. It has been turned into a national preserve for birds.
My wife and I were in Kino Nuevo for four days in December 2015 and ventured out on our paddleboards to explore the island. I brought my Canon S-120 point-and-shoot in a waterproof housing. We crossed the channel with small fishing boats and a couple of jet skis but when we arrived onshore it was just us and the birds. We shared the island with turkey vultures, pelicans, cormorants, seagulls and osprey nestled in the cardon cactus.
We paddled around to the left side and found a large bay with a sandy beach to land. We were glad we brought sandals as the island was very rocky and had many stickers from the bushes. We followed the beach to the right and walked around the island following the waterline until we came to the mountain. We then crossed the island in front of the mountain to get back to our paddleboards. Our wetsuits kept us warm in the cool December air but both of us easily imagined the intense heat of this island in the summer months and knew we would need plenty of water in the summer. Since pictures say a thousand words I’ll stop writing now. The following images are representative of what we found.
Vicki Uthe is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.