We spent a day at our favourite beach-Playa Maria-where we snorkeled and enjoyed watching the procession of small boat tours who anchored near the beach for their clients to snorkel, paddleboard and kayak. We also took our binoculars and saw a number of humpback whales blowing and breaching. It has been common to see whales every day from our beach camp spots, and we never tire of watching them!
We went to the cinema and watched The Greatest Showman, which we really enjoyed in our luxury seats where we were almost lying horizontally! We really enjoy doing normal things, such as the cinema, the longer we have been travelling.
We also hired a small boat (panga) and a captain for 5 hours and did a fishing trip, something that Gavin has been waiting for, for a long time! It did not disappoint! We caught the local bus down to the marina at 6am, meeting our captain, Jose, at 6.30pm. We boarded our boat and first stop was for fuel and for live bait! We were one of many fishing boats heading out from the harbour into the beautiful sunrise, past the iconic land`s end and arch at Cabo San Lucas. The arch is a distinctive rock formation at the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas, which is itself the extreme southern end of Mexico`s Baja Peninsula. Here the Pacific Ocean becomes the Gulf of California.
We had 4 fishing rods between us, cast out of the boat as we were sailing along and it was not too long before I noticed a twitch on the rod and yelled" I think we`ve caught a fish". Gav reeled the first one in-a dorado-and it was the smallest of the 8 we caught in total, so we put it back in. A short time later all hell broke loose as 2 of the rods were bending and the reels were whizzing around! It was my turn to reel it in, I stood up to begin the process and nearly toppled overboard! The captain got me a harness which I put the end of the rod in and I sat down whilst frantically reeling the fish in. It was massive-about 18 pounds worth, and I had to get Gav and the captain to pull it onto the boat. Then a second came in, and a third and a fourth and by the end of the trip we had caught 8! It was really exciting but very tiring and Gav told me at one stage I was so slow reeling it in that I looked comical! On the way back to the marina, we were lucky enough to see a whale breaching (coming right out of the water) fairly close to the boat and the captain waited for a while so we could watch it blowing and swimming.
Jose asked us how many fish we wanted to keep and we said 2, which he filleted for us-so much fish! He was delighted to take the rest and we also gave him a good tip-as he had been captain fantastic! We proudly took our fish to a nearby restaurant and asked them to cook it for us, which they did in 3 ways.It was delicious-one was lightly battered with beer batter, one was in mango sauce and the other with lime. It was truly the best fish we have tasted this trip and made even better by the fact we had caught it about 2 hours previously! We gave away some more fish to the staff in the restaurant as we had so much of it!
After Cabo we headed to Todo Santos, a small coastal town at the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, on the Pacific coast side of the peninsula. It is located very near the Tropic of Cancer, which we crossed. Handicraft shops, art galleries featuring landscape paintings of local scenes, upscale restaurants, boutique hotels and restored colonial buildings have contributed to the gentrification and redevelopment of the town. We camped on the beautiful beach at Las Playitas. We had heard about the daily release of baby turtles by a voluntary organization, who incubated them in a greenhouse on the beach during Winter. Three species of Sea Turtle (Leatherback, Olive Ridley and Black) nest on the beaches of Todos Santos.
Sea Turtle nests rely on the heat of the sand for incubation, and when sand temperatures drop below 26° celcius for any part of the incubation period, malformations and death can occur in the developing turtles. This is where the Incubation Greenhouse came in! All nests that are laid after October 16 are relocated into the Incubation Greenhouse where average sand temperatures are 29°celcius. Hatchlings incubated inside the greenhouse are healthy, vigorous, and lack the deformities that are common in fall and winter nests. The incidence of flipper deformations, crooked beaks, blindness and dwarfism is significantly decreased when fall and winter nests are incubated in the Greenhouse.
The turtles are released at sundown. We all got a bowl containing half a dozen baby turtles, each about 2-3cm wide. The volunteer drew a line in the sand near the sea, and this was where we were going to release the baby turtles, which had all just been born that day! It was amazing, gently shaking them out of the bowl, which also contained sand, and watching them instinctively head towards the sea. The waves would come in and take some of them off into the sea, whilst some of them immediately swept back onto the beach, before they tried again and again! It was amazing to be part of it.
We settled down for the night on the beach by ourselves and all was quiet. That was until a car pulled up at 1.30am. There was loads of space on the beach but guess where the car decided to park? Yes-right next to us! The music went on, very loudly and a group of youngsters enjoyed themselves until about 3am when they left!
After Todo Santos, we went back to La Paz where we stayed in a gorgeous hotel for a few days, located right on the beach. We relaxed for a few days-with the views of the sea right outside our window. We caught the Baja ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan over night, leaving Ruby in the hold whilst we had a cabin. We slept like babies and arrived in Mazatlan about 13 hours later.
We have spent a wonderful 5 weeks or so in Baja but are now ready to experience the delights that we know mainland Mexico has to offer!