Cabo San Lucas: Dolphins, an iguana and tourists

Published: April 26th 2006
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Yesterday, we watched from the Observation Lounge as dolphins played near the ship. From our vantage point, it looked like they were diving directly underneath the bow and we worried for their safety. Soon, they popped out on the other side of the ship, shiny bodies arching up in the air and back into the water in a glittering show of aquatic athleticism. They were safe after all.

This morning, we can hear the seals bark as the sun glints on El Arco, the rock formation at the tip of Baja California. Alan and I sip coffee on the balcony as we watch a fishing fleet leave for a day of sport fishing. The desert hills rising above the town remind us of home.

Mariner is one of three ships anchored in the waters off Cabo San Lucas. Already, tenders zoom back and forth discharging passengers at the marina. After breakfast, Alan and I board the tender to the marina for a brief walk around town.

The area is crowded with cruise passengers waiting for tours. Scenic drives, catamaran cruises, sea kayaking, sports fishing, snorkeling and horseback riding are available. However, shopping must be considered the main excursion for, even here, there are tent stores displaying diamonds and other jewelry.

Alan and I walk along the dock where slips are lined with the boats of private operators offering sightseeing opportunities. “Look at what they call a glass bottom boat,” Alan says pointing out a boat with seating for about 20 passengers and a very small square of glass in the floor of the boat. Ah, tourism!

We walk into a large building that houses a craft market. It’s a maze of stalls loaded with jewelry, carvings, metalwork and every tourist knick-knack imaginable. Alan and I wind our way through the crowd looking for an exit.

Once outside, we walk toward the other side of the marina. A man is standing on the sidewalk with an iguana on his shoulder. The woman in front of us stops to admire the reptile and before she knows what happens, the iguana is on her shoulder. A camera clicks and an unsuspecting tourist is tricked into purchasing a souvenir photo.

Vendors line the walk that leads to the main part of town. A man holds out an arm, his long white shirtsleeve covered in silver bracelets. Of course, the onboard shopping expert has warned us about these fakes. They are metal bracelets covered with a silver coating.

Soon, we come to a group of restaurants on the waterfront. At 10am, customers are already sitting on covered porches drinking frosty margaritas. It’s a hot day.

We cut through an alley to the main road. Jewelry stores abound. I enter a store and immediately a friendly sales clerk offers her assistance. When I express interest in a few pieces, I’m handed off to a manager. They must think I’m a serious shopper. The pieces are beautiful and a good buy but still expensive. “Not today,” I say.

Forty-five minutes of walking around shops in the hot sun is enough for us. Alan and I thread our way through the throngs of people until we reach the marina. We are in luck; a tender is ready to leave. The waves are choppy and the ride back to the ship is a bouncy one.

After lunch, Alan and I watch from the balcony as tourist boats poke around the rock formations giving clients a close up view of the arch. The wind has picked up and the choppy waters are making it difficult for the last tender to be lifted up so that Mariner can be on her way. Finally, the Captain turns the ship in the opposite direction, away from the wind, and the smaller boat is secured.

Alan and I talk Kathryn into going to the Observation Lounge to watch our departure. Once we sail around the arch, the long sand beaches of Cabo’s Pacific side become visible. The wind picks up too. Passengers standing outside of the Observation Lounge are being pushed by the wind. Everyone inside has a humorous view of hats blowing and people going nowhere.

Kathryn invites us to her cabin before dinner. We are celebrating the trip with our last bottle of champagne. Then, it’s dinner in Compass Rose. Afterwards, we attend the show where yet another male vocalist sings Frank Sinatra songs.

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