Wake to a beautiful sunrise over Bahia Magdelena, the gateway to the Pacific ocean and natural reserve to California gray whales. Gray whales, known for their friendliness and curiosity toward humans, frequent these waters from January through March to complete their biological cycle. This makes it one of the best sites in the peninsula for gray whale watching. Our first sighting is one lively breach as if to celebrate the new day.
Pacific white sided dolphins make a splash on our way through too, with numbers in the hundreds, causing a ceaseless wave of motion between the ship and the coastline. Later, as we admire the graceful flight lines of a Magnificent Frigate-bird from our veranda, the dolphins come closer to greet the ship and jump through its shift in current.
Watch with fascination and horror as a harbor seal wriggles through the water for its life as something unseen has it in pursuit. And watch for occasional pelicans and gulls as we continue past the white sand dunes of Cabo San Lucas on our way to Puerto Vallarta. And all this is yours to view before lunch rolls around.
To back things up just a bit, our first day at sea was all about people play as we enjoyed cruising with a view from our veranda suites. We had never had these before, and now we’ll have to have them always. Betty played in a dress-up scavenger hunt having to wear everything she found and, while she did discover every item on the list, she lost to a skirted man wearing a bra on his head. (Really, who could compete with that?) Afterward, we gussied up for a formal dinner and annual portraits. As you’ll see, we clean up well, but you can’t take us out…
As the weather forecast calls for heavy snow, sleet, and rain topped by more snow (that’s just this afternoon), I’m ready to revisit our vacation to the Mexican Riviera. What do you say? Want to come?
TO THE CRUISE!
The first part of our journey is traveling from Albany, NY to San Diego, CA where we’ll catch our cruise on Holland America the following day.
In California, we see shore birds, pigeons and fish which are pulled fresh from the water at the Empire Beach pier, and we ride a silver Mustang seeing more than a few Black Hawks as we drive through San Diego to Coronado Island and beyond, to the beach.
Our only hiccup? After turning into a heavily guarded Naval Base, top down like it was a tourist attraction, we are convinced that those Black Hawk sightings actually have us in their sights, surveillance-style. See what you think.
We’ll spend next Friday relaxing on the ms. Oosterdam, drinking margaritas while looking out over the bay at the various water and aircraft. Then we depart into the sunset, passing Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) on our way to the Mexican Riviera.
Following Fridays will explore Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas, where we’ll see breaching whales, hundreds of wave-surfing dolphins, pink pelicans, perched osprey and so much more. You can even join our exciting zip-line adventure over a rocky, water-filled canyon and ride a tractor through 6 miles of coconut groves alongside surf.
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The last adventure of our Alaskan cruise takes us not to Alaska, but to Victoria, British Columbia where we took a frigid boat ride around the islands at sunset in search of orcas, porpoises, eagles, cormorants and sea lions.
While unlucky in whale sitings, we watched dumbfounded as a magnificant Eagle made an unusual kill, snapping a gull from the air overhead and flying off with it while chased by other gulls. The sheer power was breathtaking.
Our guide said a kill of this type is highly atypical for an Eagle. Normally, they feed on fish and carrion. While he had never seen anything like it in all his years of coastline travels, there it happened, right in front of us. Amazing.
Come back next Friday for the blooper reel! And if you’ve missed any Palin-free, Alaskan Adventures:
This week we head into the Misty Fjords of Ketchikan – only accessible by boat or float plane. Long saltwater fjords, sculpted by glacial impact 17,000 years ago, are flanked by cliffs shrouded in mist, beautiful waterfalls and the seemingly endless and evergreen Tongass Rain Forest. The beautiful lighting effects of the clouds on the mirror-like surface of the water make this place most magical and we had the perfect mystical, misty day.
This week, we take a Palin-free, high speed pontoon boat through the intrepid waters surrounding Sitka. Join us as we discover a mother and calf humpback whale fishing for breakfast, sea otters frolicking about, a flock of cormorants, wash n’ dry Stellar sea lions, a congress of bald eagles and colorful sea stars decorating the dramatic, cloud-covered, mountain shoreline.