Why are we leaving? The question we asked ourselves the Saturday before the Friday we left for our trip to The Sea of Cortez. It was eighty degrees, as the easy sun sauntered the flawlessly blue sky it urged out the first redbud blossoms; the June berry and cherry trees were already in full bloom, the suddenly green grass begged for the sharp blade, and the wild flower walk beside lagoon peaked.
Then Sunday came and the sky ripped open, flooding us with more than an inch of rain whipped by the suddenly cold wind. Monday night it snowed. Wednesday was a re-run of Saturday and Rick came home early to mow. Thursday was drizzly and chilly; Appalachia’s usual taunting striptease in reverse.
On the way—after Friday Park N’ Fly in Charlotte—a typical heart stopping American Airline’s event of - UH OH! Technical problems. We were stranded on a runway in Dallas for almost an hour. Rick made frantic calls begging Silversea not to leave without us. We felt truly foolish when we grouped in the Mazatlan airport with about twenty people from the same plane—all passengers bound for The Silver Explorer.
We drove through a lot of poverty painted bright colors and boarded ship around two.
In our orientation lecture we learned this was the ship’s first trip to The Sea of Cortez (The “Galapagos of the Americas”) and was over two years in the planning; it would all be an experiment and adventure.
Tides and winds are unpredictable; there would be the possibility of seeing 31 species of whales, more than 300 different types of birds (including the blue-footed and the brown-footed booby), snorkeling, hiking (watch out for rattlesnakes and scorpions), swimming off beaches only reached by boat.
The Mexican government (they have already arrived in a small boat with red lights flashing to ensure that Silversea Explorer is not violating any restrictions in this now heavily protected area) has reluctantly given this boat, with 120 passengers, entry.
There is no ensuring there will ever be such an expedition here again. So, though I would be sorry for loved ones who couldn’t share this experience, I guess I am glad that the Mexicans are fiercely protecting their precious natural resources while Trump destroys ours. Especially considering all the damage wrought by the tourist trade in the real Galapagos.
On this second day at sea, we have already attended two fascinating lectures on fish* and fowl—seen and to be seen—we have snorkeled, seeing eels and blowfish, ETC. and leave soon to ride the dingy (8 to a boat) round an island white with guano.
*Huge rays where the male courts the ladies by flinging himself high into the air and landing in a spectacular belly flop. The loudest slam wins the lady ray of his choice. We learned of the love triangle of the moray eel, which loves to eat lobsters, but loves more eating octopus; the octopus—as we all know—completely adores lobster. SO the eels allow lobsters to hide from the octopus by co-habituating (uneaten) in their eel caves. Guess what happens when the feckless octopus sees a cave full of lobsters? The whale shark is the largest fish of the sea; it can be the size of our yellow school buses. The Sally Lightfoot Crab—in addition to being bright red, yellow and blue—spits at its aggressors. She gets an entire paragraph in John Steinbeck’s A Log of The Sea of Cortez (if only we’d known such a book existed). The fascinating lecture of the fish of Cortez was half informational and half Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. Lots of yucks at the expense of the amazing fish.
From the Dingy
sea lions barking
the late day sky
a smudge of sea birds
reservoirs of bird poop.