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Published: February 7th 2015
As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.” -Herman Melville
And we are off once again, this time much shorter and much closer to home than we have been doing but nevertheless one of those life list trips we have been looking forward to now for years.
We left Tucson at 0900 with layover in Phoenix and arrived in San Jose Del Cabo at 1300. What a short and painless trip and we didn't even have to leave our timezone! As we were making our initial descent my eyes were glued out the window, tracing the contours of the coast. There were several times where I thought I was imagining seeing whales, but I was skeptical as I always see "phantom whales" anytime I fly over the ocean. Dennis leaned over and immediately exclaimed "look a whale!" Sure enough this was no phantom whale and we could actually clearly see the outline and spray of a surfacing whale. We took this as an incredible omen of many whale sightings for the trip.
We quickly made it through customs and immigration and passed
through what I had read warning online about as the "shark tank." This is an area where there are timeshare "sharks" posing as friendly hotel and car rental reps. There was a guy that asked if I needed a rental car. I told him I already had one and he asked through who? I told him and he said that my rep was seated right over there, and that he would take me to a shuttle that would bring me to my rental car. I hesitated for a moment wondering if I was mistaken and this was where I needed to be, however looking at our "rep" I saw that he did not have any name tag of sign with his affiliation, so I decided to push through.
Once outside we found our "real shuttle" bringing us to our "real rental car." We hit the road in record time in our VW Jetta, 35 mins from landing to driving away in our rental car at 1335, wow! We were so relieved we weren't roped into a timeshare presentation immediately from the airport and wasted the rest of our day.
We left northbound on HWY 1 a winding and
mountainous road through what looked almost exactly like Southern Az. We passed through several small towns and left the paved road and headed south for about 10km on the eastern shore (Sea of Corez) to Cabo Pulmo.
We first learned of Cabo Pulmo a few weeks ago after watching Mission Blue, a documentary about marine biologist Sylvia Pearl. At the end she mentions Cabo Pulmo and the Marine Park that was created there in 1995 and the hope that this place brings to the future of marine conservation. I was so moved by what I saw and heard that I decided to modify our travel plans to accommodate a few days there to dive and explore the only living reef in North America.
We arrived at 1500, a mere 1 1/2 hrs from landing in Cabo. The town is so small that if you blink you'll miss it. It started off as a small fishing village and once the marine park was established, became a little tourist haven for diving. Here there are 3 dive shops and 5 restaurants and several small cabanas for rent along the beachfront. It is one of those iconic sleepy Baja beach towns that you immediately fall in love with and start fantasizing about retiring to.
We rented an adorable small thatched roof cabana from Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort ($69/night) and set up our dives for the following day ($75/2 tank dive) with the same company. The receptionist asked us if we wanted a key, because she said the town was so safe that no one ever locks their doors. The cynical cop in me believes that no matter where you are you should always lock your doors, however the thought was nice considering all the negative news we always hear about Mexico these days.
Once settled we went in search of the first of our many fish and shrimp tacos this trip at Caballero's, delicious. We chatted with a old gringo with his dog who bragged about not being back in the US for 11 years and being homeless, moving from house to house, care taking for all the vacation rental owners.
We finished the evening taking a long walk along the beach beside a visible protruding reef just 500 ft. offshore. As we were looking out over the ocean we saw some breaking waves and what looked like a dolphin or small whale jumping. Pulling out our binoculars we were delighted to discover a small baby humpback whale with it's mother. We watched the baby breaching every minute or so, the mother every 5 mins, in a display that could only be described as a baby frolicking and playing.
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