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Journal - 25-Feb-2001, Sunday, San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California, Mexico
(Trip: Baja California, Whale Watching, Copper Canyon.)

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Click for larger image! Welcome to the dawn<br> . Keywords: Mexico,baja,california,baja california,travel,overland,whale,watching,whale watching,ballena gris,grey whale,gray whale,kuyima,camping,panga
(Click to view)
Click for larger image! 'Here pretty whales, where are you...?'. Keywords: Mexico,baja,california,baja california,travel,overland,whale,watching,whale watching,ballena gris,grey whale,gray whale,kuyima,camping,panga
(Click to view)
Welcome to the dawn
 
'Here pretty whales, where are you...?'
Send to a friend! Send to a friend!

The bus stops in the middle of nowhere (as it has been doing throughout the trip) and Monica goes off to ask if this is San Ignacio. Turns out it is and we disembark into the pitch blackness of a cold desert night. The time is 05:30. Fortunately the 'Kuyima' van is there to pick us up. Kuyima is the name of the whale watching campsite we're booked with. About the only other thing visible is the gas station where we head to relief ourselves. We meet our travelling companions for the shuttle to the campsite. As we had guessed, they had shared the bus with us from La Paz. I'm trying to get used to the idea that's morning and not the middle of the night. Or, more to the point, that my sleep ration is up already.

All climb into the van and off we go! Or rather we don't. When the driver turns the ignition all we get is a pathetic "don't expect me to start on a dead battery" sound from the engine.

The cold is really starting to bite now. The driver wears a heavy padded jacket. Good for him. The rest of us have to make do with our (Mexico) city clothes as we watch him poke at the engine. The females of our party start to make helpful suggestions like "why don't we ask someone for help" and "I have a phone card". The driver seems to spend some time considering these suggestions before telling us that the Kuyima managers live a few meters away and he can get a jump start from them.

We wait in the van, trying to stop our blood from freezing. Eventually help arrives and we start our journey along the 60km dirt road to Kuyima. On the way we witness a beautiful, deep orange sunrise. I'm tempted to ask the driver to stop so I can take photographs but fear mutiny from the other travelers.

Arriving at the campsite around 8, we receive a warm welcome and, more importantly, a warm breakfast. The food is delicious. We just have time to pitch the tent before heading out on our first whale watching expedition.

There are six in our small motorboat. As head out to the bay we see around ten other boats. Poor whales!

Over the next hour or so we see a lot of whales but unfortunately only one surfaces close to our boat. I seem to be taking a lot of 'Whale underwater (really!)' shots, so switch on the motor drive and move to manual focus (the auto-focus has problems with grey whales in grey, wavy, water).

A couple of dolphins swim with our boat for a while. Despite some great dolphin leaps, all I manage to shoot is a dorsal fin.

We return a little disappointed not to have met any whales face to face. Apparently we've been unlucky.

After a great lunch we wander down the coast of the lagoon. There are birds, mangroves, crabs, thousands of sea-shells, and whales which can be seen in the distance.

At night the stars are just magnificent. There are no power lines here and hence few artificial lights. The sky appears almost pale due to huge quantity of visible stars. The milky way is plainly visible. The reflections of the moon and a planet light up the lagoon's surface. Beautiful. And cold.

Around 9pm we retire to our first stationary beds since Wednesday night. Sleep comes with little prompting.

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Cuba - Rotorua, New Zealand - Christ Church, Dublin - Monument Valley, Arizona - Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico - Staffa, Scotland - Huamantla, Tlaxcala, Mexico - Costa Rica - Tule Tree, Oaxaca, Mexico - Fiesta, Mexico City - Making Lacquer, Olinalá, Mexico - Talavera Ceramics, Puebla, Mexico - Mata Ortiz Pottery, Mexico - Lebanon
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