Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

A Cruise on the Wild Side

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2ecocruise05bBy Joan Rattner Heilman

Mature Life Features

SEA OF CORTEZ —- Pulling a skintight wetsuit onto an imperfect body is not very encouraging.  Not only was I going to be seen in that outfit by my fellow passengers on our small cruise ship, but I had to maneuver my way along the deck, climb into an inflatable boat, motor out to a small island, and then jump overboard.

Then we were going to swim with a gang of sea lions.

Once I slid over the  side and into the water feet first, none of my vanities mattered anymore.  Schools of fantastically colorful fish swam beneath my flippered feet.  Then, with a whoosh, a baby sea lion came by to play, swimming around and around in joyful circles. Then another, and another, splashing to the surface, diving down into the water.  Wherever I went, they followed, a bunch of youngsters out for a good time.  Their huge parents, tusks gleaming, watched benignly from the rocky island nearby.

One of the pups, a handsome little brown and shiny fellow with short black whiskers, came alongside, turned upside down, his face next to mine, and presented his neck to be scratched.  After obliging, I put my arm around him and it was like hugging a big wet soft golden retriever.  We both fell in love and our parting half an hour later was poignant.

We were on a week-long ecocruise on the vermillion waters that separate Baja California from mainland Mexico. It has been called the Mexican Galapagos but its the Gulf of California on  U.S. maps.  Cabo San Lucas is perched on the southernmost tip of the 700-mile-long peninsula where gulf spills into the Pacific Ocean.

Dolphins raced alongside our small ship most mornings and blue whales spouted off the bow.  A large gray whale surfaced next to the ship as we ate breakfast and appeared again in the evening as the sun began to set.   We visited pristine desert islands and found turtles among the succulents and cacti.  And we were accompanied by an amazing number of seabirds including frigate birds, ospreys, eagles, pelicans, and blue-footed boobies.

Traveling “green” doesn’t necessarily mean roughing it, although there was plenty of physical activity from desert hikes to kayaking and snorkeling in search of wild creatures.

We began and ended the cruise in La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur. It’s a walkable town with a colorful seaside promenade lined with shops and eateries.

Our other major foray into civilization was up the coast at Loreto, Baja’s oldest permanent settlement, where the first of hte long

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2005

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 5, 2014 at 10:05 am

Posted in Travel

Tagged with , , , ,

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