Monday, March 14, 2011

The Mexico Diaries, part 3

In the mangroves
3/1 (David) The whale watching and fishing surpassed all expectations that I had. Gabriele picked us up and we left in his panga (fishing boat) with a 60 HP Honda motor. We went in search of grey whales and found one who spent 2-3 minutes next to our boat with Bird and Joanne scratching him furiously. He wanted to rub his skin to remove some barnacles, so our panga was convenient for him. What a thrill! Next fishing at the mouth of the Bay. We caught a cozen barracuda and eventually arrived at a small fishing town with a restaurant that cooked our catch. We filleted 2 barracuda and had one cooked in garlic and butter and the other was battered and fried. Both were excellent. Tortillas, bean, cabbage and salsa made an excellent luncheon for the 5 of us. We stayed on the island overnight and had lobster for dinner. Before dinner we went beach combing for a couple hours and found lots of sand dollars and other shells. Gabriele has 2 Honda 4-wheelers and they were great fun to drive. Very comfortable and if I were to buy a 4-wheeler I think Honda would be a good choice. Joanne's birthday? one to remember!

(Joanne) Yes, it is a birthday to remember! We had a great breakfast at our motel and then went a few blocks to Gabriele's home where we parked our vehicles and climbed into the panga. G drove to the launching spot and we were on our way. First spot on the tour was the mangroves where thousands of birds were perched. Then we were off to check out bird island where thousands more birds sat and watched us go by. We saw cranes and egrets close to shore, and pelicans, cormorants, gulls and loons out on the water.
As we got closer to the mouth of the bay we saw whales spouting, and several more tour boats and pangas. We could see whales breaching the water and their tails slapping. G moved the boat a few times to get closer. As we moved through the water, all of us looking ahead, we heard a spouting whale right behind us. G cut the engine and the whale swam up to the side of the boat where we could touch her and she could scratch herself. We put our hands in her mouth, scratched her back and looked into her blow hole. I think awesome is the word I would use to describe the experience. G has a low whistle which we think helped keep her around for so long. She pushed the boat and came up under us and that was pretty exciting as well. The other tour boats came over to check it out, G kissed the whale, and then she was gone. Wow!
Next we put our fishing lines in the water and at the second spot we tried we were successful. All four of us hooked barracuda at the same time, keeping G very busy. We caught about 20 fish before going in. Smokey has a large barracuda on his line and a sea lion tried to take it. Actually the sea lion took off a big bite! The sea lion followed us after that, looking for more lunch.
Gabriele holding the barracuda taken from a sea lion

When we got to Magdalena city we stopped for lunch at Miramar restaurant where 2 of our barracuda were filleted and cooked for us. Very tasty!
The island was our destination for the evening. G went to prepare the beach house for our overnight stay while we finished our late lunch. We walked to the house and were pleasantly surprised. It was just right for our stay. Two ATV quads provided entertainment and transportation to the Pacific side of the island where we picked up shells and sand dollars and walked on the beach. It is a beautiful place. (But I do want to take a big trash bag and pick up litter next time!)
Beach house on Magdalena Island

Slept well after our lobster dinner. We also had ceviche made from our barracuda. Delicious! Sunrise found us on the front porch enjoying our coffee and watching whales and a sea lion. Perfect.
 G came and picked us up for a panga ride back. We saw a "feeding frenzy" on the bay as the pelicans went for sardina!

3/2 (David) Sunrise on Magdalena Bay was picturesque. We drank coffee, listened and watched for whales and watched for the sun. It broke the horizon and was fully visible within a minute. I don't recall the sunrise occurring that quickly in Seward. The whales never disappoint us. We watched them from the porch of G's home on the island. They were always there spouting and swimming the surface.
Smokey left for San Diego when we returned to Constitution as he has doctor's appointments at the VA Hospital. They are planning to put radioactive beads in his prostate to stop the cancer which is a pretty aggressive treatment. My friend Jimmy had the procedure done on his liver cancer but not successfully. Hope and pray that Smokey has better results.
The drive home was long but uneventful. Joanne drove from C. Constitution to La Paz and I drove from La Paz to La Ribera. We were all pretty worn out and after a chef's salad and a couple Modelo Lights we went to bed. Joanne reads before going to sleep. Pillow prop up her head and a small flashlight under her chin--that's the last sight I have before going to sleep.

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