Tuesday, March 25, 2008

All Ashore for Cabo San Lucas

One of the things I remember most about Mexico when I came here about 20 years ago were the pelicans. Flocks of them were everywhere, bobbing in the water, sitting around the fishing boats and even all over them. I found them inordinately interesting and still do so this is what you get for the photo image in this post.

For a day and a half we have been sailing down the 1000 mile long Baja California, a peninsula which was split off from the mainland of Mexico by violent seismic activity along the San Andreas fault between 10 to 15 million years ago. Very powerful earthquakes split the Baja from the mainland and the Sea of Cortez was formed, with the area still seismically active on occasion.

The sea around Cabo San Lucas, which is a few miles from the tip of the peninsula on the bay side, is home to much marine life, including migrating California Gray Whales and Humpbacks. We did not see these particular whales but we did see two pods of killer whales or orcas which is apparently a quite rare sight in these waters. They were quite close to the ship and travelling in the same direction, surfacing and blowing at regular intervals. It was then I wished I had one of those huge telephoto lens although I don't really want to lug one around.

Settlements have existed here since the 16th century, as the Cape offered refuge to pirates seeking refuge from the sea. Fisherman came later and more recently there was only a small village with about 200 people in the area however Cabo San Lucas, a government- sponsored and designed resort community, only a few decades old, has sprung up here with an unbroken line of hotels, golf courses and condominiums with restaurants and shops. North of Cabo San Lucas is the interior desert of the peninsula and due to the rocky terrain many visitors still arrive via the sea, either via cruise ships or in their own vessels for it is a superb fishing region.

Cabo has no pier for cruise ships so all passengers are taken from ship to shore via tenders, which in the case of Holland America are their 150 seat covered lifeboats. They look like a lot of fun to operate for the drivers as they hover by the boat's loading gangways and zip across to small piers on the shore, back and forth for all the hours that the ship is in port. With any luck there is a photo of one above, just below the pelicans.The most interesting thing here for visitors besides sports fishing are the water sports. Snorkeling and scuba diving have never been our thing and we would probably be past it, even if it once was. Ditto for parasailing and whipping about on the water skidoo type things or water scooters or whatever they call them. The latter do look like fun and the "old scientist" said he would have tried those for sure in his younger days if they had existed.

So we opted instead to wander around the smallish town and enjoy the lovely day. We took refuge for a while in an air conditioned mall where I bought a new sporty watch with interchangeable bands since my old one was giving up the ghost. Yes pretty lame to be buying a new watch in Mexico but I have no interest in the jewellery on offer everywhere, both the local silver and the ever present diamonds which are on offer in every cruise port I've ever been. As I never buy anything I have to dust I managed to avoid all the pottery which also is the very prevalent local ware. We did find a wonderful store with sets of medieval armour for sale along with all types of swords and daggers. It was an interesting store to explore and the young Mexican women assistants were very polite even though it was obvious that we were not prospective customers.

When we came back to the ship we sat on the deck and watched the people enjoying themselves either on boats or the water skidoo things for it was a truly lovely day. The one thing I noticed was that there was absolutely no surf at the beaches in the bay but I'm sure there must be on the ocean side of the peninsula.

I have friends who come here regularly for vacation but I would not say that it is my type of place. I can see boating people enjoying it a lot and the marina was excellent. Lying around in the sun and relaxing would be fine if you like that which I don't since I burn so badly and skin cancer has afflicted the old boy quite severely from melanoma to squamous cell to ordinary basal cell types so he too avoids the sun now. His misspent surfer dude youth has finally caught up with him. So I think we have made our one and only trip to Cabo San Lucas.

Next port of call is Mazatlan which we visited for a week with another couple many years ago and where we stayed at a resort out of town with its own private beach and we played tennis every day.

NB: I have had to give up on the images this time. They will not load even in Blogger. Who knows what the problem is. Apologies.


leslie said...

It doesn't matter about photos, jmb, because your writing is imagery enough. Really enjoyed this "vicarious" trip to Cabo, never having been there myself as I loathe sweating in the sun! :D Cheers and looking forward to the next episode.

Rositta said...

Glad your enjoying yourself...I didn't much like getting off ships via tender, I always got nervous, I can't swim and had visions of falling...ciao

Tai said...

I was just going to say that your descriptions are just as delicious as any photos, thanks for sharing!

Carver said...

Very interesting post. Sounds like great fun. I'm obviously with you on the sun issue but a trip like this sounds perfect with a nice mix of places. As usual you have provided fascinating information in this post about the history of the places you are seeing.

Janice Thomson said...

Yes I agree - your writing is fabulous so a photo missing here and there is no big deal. Thanks for sharing this trip with us Jmb!

Ian Lidster said...

I fell in love with the pelicans at Cabo a number of years ago. Nice to go back there again. It has been a while.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I love that: "I never buy anything I have to dust". That will be my motto henceforth, mb!