Sunday, November 10, 2013

Our first trip to Cabo

Julie and I have been to dozens of countries, but neither of us has ever ventured down into Mexico. This past week we broke that streak with a trip to Cabo San Lucas.  Cabo is on the very southern tip of the Baja California peninsula.

We made this trip with our friends Chad Rexroad and Cathy Clark.  I play golf and look for elk with Chad and Cathy runs the Furburbia animal shelter where we got Jasper and Cosette.
Chad and Cathy had done a trip to Cabo back in the spring and really enjoyed it.  We stayed at the same resort, the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica.  We booked through Expedia and managed to get some great prices for the hotel and airfare.

The one disappointment with our reservations was that we weren't able to get a direct flight on Delta.  They have one, but it is seasonal and apparently the season hasn't started yet.  This became more important on the trip south.  Just about the time we landed at LAX, a gunman had entered terminal 3 and started shooting.  Through blind luck, we landed at terminal 5 and walked over to terminal 6 for our departure flight.  Astoundingly, we left only 20 minutes late.  The following day we heard that over 700 flights were delayed or canceled.
The resort was gorgeous.  It's adults only, so we didn't have to contend with hundreds of kids running around the pool. It also has the option of being "all inclusive" so your food and drinks are all part of the package.
The resort is right on the Pacific ocean, which makes for some magnificent scenery, especially in the evenings.
I mentioned that the pool was peaceful because of the lack of kids at the resort.  Apparently those rules don't apply to pelicans.  This one flew right into the pool, swam around for a bit, and then got out to dry over by the cactus.  I was a bit worried about taking my new iPhone 5S into the pool to get this shot.
The  beach was fairly steep, which made for some pretty dramatic waves. It also meant that you weren't allowed to venture out into the ocean.  At all.
You can get a little sense of why there is no swimming on these beaches.  What you can't see is the wicked undertow caused by the angle of the beach.
Almost every evening, we walked barefoot on the beach before dinner to watch the sun set.
Even the cloudier evenings were still pretty. Of course, Julie is always pretty.
One of the big adventures was the deep sea fishing trip that Chad and I went out on, but only barely.  We started on Sunday morning at 7:00.  We took a cab ride from the hotel with two guys from Houston on a calm, but cloudy morning.  When we got to the marina, we discovered that all the boat trips were cancelled. A tropical storm was off the coast and heading our way.

By hooking up with a couple from Myrtle Beach, we ended up booking a bigger boat for all six of us on Tuesday. Here we are on Tuesday morning, in much nicer weather, all ready to go.
Except our boat wouldn't start.  Who has a commercial fishing boat that doesn't have charged batteries?  They worked on this for over an hour, but it clearly wasn't going anywhere.  They desperately need AAA for boats in the Cabo marina.

There were lots of boat alternatives, but we had to get lucky to find one that:
  • was available
  • at a reasonable price
  • with a captain and a mate
We finally got lucky.  We got on board a 45 footer that actually started and took off for the ocean.
We took turns when something hit the fishing lines and Chad was first.  He managed to haul in this striped marlin.  I kept telling Chad to hold it out further in front of him so it would look bigger, but it weighed about 120 pounds.
The  mate filleted the marlin and packed up about 60 pounds of fish. The rest got thrown over to feed the sharks.  That might sound like a joke, but earlier on the ride we had two young killer whales swim right under our boat.  We got a nice view of them in the water, but my photos didn't come out at all.  Perhaps with a polarizer on the lens?  Even young killer whales are huge.  My mind quickly went back to the movie Jaws.  "We're going to need a bigger boat."

We ended up catching two more marlin, but I didn't take a turn hauling one in.  Three marlin is a great fishing trip!
On the way back into the marina, the sea beggars show up.  The first were the pelicans. This one rode on the back of the boat, but there were 20 more in the water swimming along behind us.
Then came the sea lions.  One followed us for a bit and then left.  The second was Paco, well known around the marina.  He hopped up on the swim platform, looking for any leftover bait we might have. What a great life he leads.  Once he mooched all our bait, he just hopped down and waited for the next boat to come by.
We had fish packaged up for everyone on board, including the captain and the mate.  I'm guessing they ended up with 20-30 pounds of marlin.  We took ours back to the resort.  The guys from Houston had theirs prepared for lunch at the pool bar, some grilled and some cooked tempura style.

We had ours for dinner. This was an incredible chili-based sashimi.
Then we had some prepared three other ways: grilled, blackened, and broiled.  Delicious!
All in all, the fishing trip had a lot of hard knocks getting started, but ended up being well worth it.

One morning I went out to take some photos of the waves in the morning sun.  I had missed sunrise, but thought it could still be pretty.  Then I noticed a security guy standing guard over a little mesh area in the middle of the beach.  It turned out that a turtle's nest was hatching.  They are endangered and are protected along the coast.  I got to watch all the little guys struggling to get down to the water. Sometimes the waves would carry them out to sea.  Other times they would throw them back up the beach, losing all those hard earned gains.
They were cute, but pretty clumsy. The good news is that the humans, as disastrous as we tend to be for the ecosystem, were there to protect them.  When the pelicans and seagulls saw what was happening, they came for some breakfast.  Instead, they got handfuls of sand throw at them.  In the end, all of the turtles made it into the ocean.  Of course, many of them were probably eaten by something out in the water.  The survival rate is extremely low.
One day we kayaked from the marina area over to El Arco and its nearby beaches.  We were in calm, protected waters on the trip, but as soon as we got close to the arch, we get close to the waves from the Pacific.  We were immediately herded back by the local harbor patrol.  I guess an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of water rescues.
If I had more than just my little S100 pocket camera, I could have been happy shooting wave pictures for hours.  The water is a gorgeous blue, but the waves pick up sand which makes interesting patterns.
Another one of our evening sunsets, just before we walked in for dinner.
Our last night in Cabo brought all sorts of color on the water.
The people out on this sunset cruise were really getting their money's worth.  That might be something fun to do on a future visit.

What a fantastic trip.  While we were enjoying the 80 degree weather in Cabo, it was cold and snowing back in Park City.  Great timing (other than the LAX shootings of course).

Chad and Cathy are great travel companions.  We have friends that are easy to travel with and some that are more high maintenance.  These guys were as easy and comfortable as it gets.  Having a nice resort with good food and drinks included made it so easy to just relax and enjoy the stay.

We will definitely be heading back to Cabo.  Now we just need to figure out when that direct flight runs.
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