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Published: January 30th 2020
Okay week two in Mexico, we are still in Baja California and I am writing this in Los Barriles on the Eastern Cape.
After the previous day's trip to swim with the Whale Sharks we booked a boat trip from a beach south of La Paz across to an island called Espiritu Santo. We were meant to be leaving at 11.30 with a group of 4 Canadians. The boat was going to be a bit late but at 12.30 we bailed out and got our money back. It was disappointing but we chilled on the beach had a beer and some food. At least it wasn’t one of our wildlife trips. On our return to La Paz we picked up our clean clothes. I have said this before it is one of the luxuries of travel taking clothes to the laundry.
Next morning we had another delicious home-cooked breakfast and said bye to Luisa, although we have one more night at the same place, she has given us a key to get in. We headed north on Mexico Highway 1, and 350k later arrived in Loreto. The end if the drive was interesting through the mountains but kilometre after
kilometre of cactus plants was pretty monotonous. We stayed in the Loreto Plaza hotel and it was a big room but a pretty basic bathroom with poor water pressure, thank heavens for short hair. We ate late afternoon, I ordered a veggie burro and it was huge, that was it for the day. We had thought it might have been blue whale season but not yet so we organised a boat trip with a nice guy called Daniel.
Breakfast next morning was interesting. Despite having been retired nearly 12 years I still get irritated by poorly organised systems. Its not rocket science to put the hot water near the cups and tea bags and the tables for eating in the sun rather than traipsing across the garden area to get hot water and being cold whilst the dirty plates bask in the sun. At least the omelette was nice and freshly made.
We had a wander round town, Chris went for a shave and I chatted to a guy from Nottingham who was travelling the world on his bike. He had had some amazing experiences in some out of the way places and he hinted we weren't very
adventurous by comparison. Probably true but we have done some amazing things and been to some fabulous places outside of the experience of many . It left me feeling a little deflated and also wondering do we come across that way to people who do less than us? The answer is probably. Would I want to do an 18 month trip around the world on a bike, definitely not.
Lunch was in a great little funky vegan place, a delicious avocado burrito with beetroot juice to drink. By comparison our evening meal was New Orleans soul food, a new place run by a French Canadian woman. The enthusiastic waiter put our red wine in an ice bucket.
Next day Daniel was punctual, polite and very knowledgeable and had brought his fishing rods. We had a nice time, there was a pod of dolphins, we watched some sea lions then lazed on a pristine white sand beach with black volcanic rocks teeming with little fish. The fishing on the way back was unsuccessful, Chris caught a rock!! We did see some fabulous ospreys and brown boobies. I wandered round the mission museum and learnt a bit about the Spanish
settlers. Also took my first photos of the trip.
We left Loreto bound for Bahia Magdalena and the whole reason for our trip, to see the Grey Whales on their migration north to Alaska. To say Puerto San Carlos and Hotel Isabela were disappointing is a massive understatement, the town was one of the most run down we have seen in both of our trips to Mexico. Lots of the houses were little more than sheds and there was allsorts of stuff lying around and mangy dogs in the streets. The hotel seemed little better, for $60 US our room was dark and dingy. My first thought was to leave and I saw another two rooms which were worse, damp and dingy. Our purposes for visiting was the whales and we had already paid half so we unpacked. There was no real beach to speak of just an inlet, which every evening at low tide was full of wading birds, ibis, storks , herons and curlews. There were ospreys nesting on the telegraph poles.
The staff in the place were really friendly so we settled in and had an evening meal and an early night as we were
leaving on Sunday morning at 7.30 am. Our captain Juan was a huge guy but as we spent time with him he was gentle and quite funny. It was really misty but the sea was calm. Our first stop was bird island . The collective noun for pelicans is a pod and for cormorants a gulp but there were about a thousand of each.
It took about an hour to get out in the bay and our first sight was a few spouts in the distance, Whales. Over the next few hours we had amazing views of about 15-18 different animals, sometimes in ones and twos and other times in pods of 4 or 5. One came really close to the boat and I was able to touch it, what an experience. One whale spouted just in front of us, boy what a smell.
We then had pretty basic lunch in a small town on Isla Magdalen and then went to a posh camp run by the same people. Chris went off fishing with Juan and caught 4 and I stayed and chatted to a guy called Carlos who managed the place. I talked to him about helpx
and house sitting. The owner Marco arrived with an American guy who had stayed for several days and done 3 boat trips. I got the feeling people at the camp got VIP treatment. We had looked at that option and decided it was off the scale expensive. We got back to town tired and ate and had another early night. There was a family of 4 staying from the UK the parents and 2 children about 11 and 9 and they had been travelling three and a half months but were going back 2 weeks early as they had had enough. The girls had been to the Galapagos and loved it.
Next day we had a different plan, straight to the whales and no lunch and fishing on the way back. It was breezy and the bay was much rougher so it took longer to get out to the whales. It was also harder to spot the spouts and the whales. It calmed down and we did get pretty close but nothing like the previous day. We went to the camp had a beer and then both went fishing, I caught 3 to Chris's one and also one that was the biggest! Was it worth it ? As an experience it was amazing to be so close to such huge majestic animals and that was pretty priceless. But at $65US an hour for the boat I'm not so sure.
We decided to leave early as there was nothing to do in San Carlos and so had our final night chatting to Lynn and Nigel, a couple from London who were going to stay at the camp. We set off next morning bound for our final stop on Baja at Los Barriles on the eastern side south of La Paz. This is a complete contrast to San Carlos it is a tourist spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding and deep sea fishing. It is also snowbird country with lots of American and Canadian tourists and people who live here. Some of the beachfront properties are obscenely expensive and so everything is really expensive and the locals expect at least 10% tip. My first task was get our whale watching clothes washed and I wandered to the beach to find only one place for a beer on the beach.
Later we both went back and met a lovely couple he was Spanish, from Denia and she was from London. He was escaping the cold of Spain. We chatted for a while as they are converting a school bus into a motorhome. We ate in an American style diner so it was big on portion size but low on flavours or finesse.
So that was week two, till next time.
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