During the winter months of December through March the Mexican Caribbean comes alive with the exciting arrival of sailfish. Opportunities for snorkeling, swimming and scuba diving with these majestic predators in their natural habitat are fast becoming some of the most sought after experiences during this season.
These magnificent fish, whose name derives from their dorsal fins, are blue to gray in color with white underbellies. They are considered prized gamefish but are not widely eaten. They come to the warm waters of the Mexican coastline attracted by the abundance of sardines in the area.
Although sailfish are known as cold blooded animals, they have the ability to warm up certain parts of their bodies, specifically the eye and brain regions, allowing them to hunt better by spotting and chasing prey in colder water at deeper depths.
As these fish are strong yet flexible, they can circle and confuse schools of sardines with their immense speed, with recorded top speeds of 68 miles per hour. With their prey herded tightly together the sailfish use their strong bills to strike and stun. The rapid bite and gulp movement that follows leaves plenty of sardine bits in the warm shallows for frigate birds and other freeloaders to snack on. The predator-prey behaviour of these intense feedings are a remarkable experience for all to see at Isla Mujeres and the island of Contoy, just off the coast of nearby Cancun.
This spectacle of nature provides a thrill like no other, and swimming with these fast fish in the warm waters of the Caribbean will afford you a fascinating, heart-racing, unforgettable encounter of a lifetime.