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Journal - 28-Feb-2001, Wednesday, Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico
(Trip: Baja California, Whale Watching, Copper Canyon.)

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Click for larger image! El Arco de los Cabos. Keywords: backpack,Mexico,baja,california,baja california,travel,overland,los cabos,cabos,cabos san lucas,san lucas,san jose,camping,camp,aguila,bus,autobus,la paz
(Click to view)
Click for larger image! A school of fish. Keywords: backpack,Mexico,baja,california,baja california,travel,overland,los cabos,cabos,cabos san lucas,san lucas,san jose,camping,camp,aguila,bus,autobus,la paz
(Click to view)
El Arco de los Cabos
A school of fish
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We wake around 7 to the sound of birdsong. No cold was felt during the night - a first for us! By 9 we're on the road to buy return bus tickets. The campsite owners pass us on the road and give us a 'rite' ('ride' in the northern Mexican dialect) most of the way to the ticket office.

Tickets bought, we take a 'collectivo' into town. Pretty soon people are offering their services for boat trips, restaurants, etc. For $8 we can get a 'water taxi' to 'Playa del Amor' (Beach of Love) - an inaccessible beach, including a visit to 'El Arco' (The Arch) - the rock formation that marks the end of Baja California. We buy food and go for it. We also rent snorkel gear (at a spanish speaker's negotiated discount of course).

The trip to the beach takes about 15 minutes. It looks great. We motor past the beach to visit El Arco. Sea lions are sunbathing on the rocks - an expected bonus! Pelicans also hang around the rocks, apparantly accustomed, and undisturbed by, the presence of boats and humans.

On the beach someone meets our boat and helps with the bag as we jump ankle deep into the clear sea water. The man advises to keep our things on this side of the beach, where he'll watch them, and asks for a tip 'to keep the beach clean'. Delighted that the service exists, and that I won't need to worry too much while swimming, I give him $2.

The beach actually spans the west and east coasts of a peninsular, with the Pacific ocean to the west, and Mar de Cortés to the east. The waves on the Pacific side are tremendous, and swimming is not permitted.

Monica remembered to bring the waterproof camera case, so we get to work with the snorkeling gear. The water is dehabilitatingly cold. At least it feels that way. We seriously consider cutting our losses and not qoing in at all!

After braving the icy water we are treated to spectacle of underwater life. There are fish of various species feeding on the coral-covered rocks and sandy bottom. The camera is a bit tricky to use with a diving mask but I kind of get the hang of it. Using 'point & hope' techniques, I actually one or two acceptable shots!

We are swimming in a narrow gorge with the sea rushing in and out. Turning around I see Monica sitting on submerged rock. I wonder it's deliberate or if something's wrong - all the rocks I've seen are covered in sharp coral. By the time I get over to her she's back in water but not looking happy. Turns out that the poor girl was lifted on to the rocks by the currents and then unable to move, despite the pain of sitting on sharp coral, for fear of scraping more of her body. As it is, she has a deep, clean, cut across her thumb. We improvise a waterproof bandage with a strip of plastic bag. Must remember to carry first aid kit at all times.

The highlight of the day comes when snorkeling later. I'm pointing out a large fish to Monica we notice a dark form approaching that looks like a monster fish. We watch, forgetting to breath. As it goes by we realize it't a sealion! The sealion returns for a closer inspection of us before swimming off at high speed. Monica and I look at each other excitedly - confirming that the other saw it too.

A little after 15:00 our water taxi arrives to take us back to town. Our bus leaves at 16:40 and we stil need to break camp. We're sharing it with a group of Americans and they want another tour of 'El Arco'. Being in the minority we stay mute and count the minutes. We arrive back on terra firma at 15:30. Given the time constraints we take a taxi to the campsite and ask him to wait while we pack up. Record time is made and around 10 minutes later we're back in the taxi heading for the bus station. We change out of our bathing suits at the bus station.

The bus leaves on time and we arrive at La Paz just after 7pm. At the bus station we're inquire about transport to Pichilingue (the ferry terminal). Apparently there is none - the last bus left over an hour go. This seems a bit strange, given that the ferry doesn't leave until 22:00. I guess your regular bus traveler doesn't mind waiting 4 hours between the bus arriving and the ferry leaving. We take a taxi. Expensive day for taxis. On the way I start to think we should have trekked - get in shape and all that. After driving for what seemed like an age, I'm glad we took the Taxi!

Boarding the ferry we pass through customs. Baja California is a 'free zone' which I think means it has free trade with the US.

Aboard the ferry, I spend some time trying to organize the photos (and catch up with this journal) before falling sound asleep. We've both burnt our backs in our sun (we didn't wear sunblock while snorkeling because apparently not good for the marine life).

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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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