Friday, January 27, 2012
A CLOSE Encounter of a Whale Kind....
James and Sydney aboard "Endeavor" locked and loaded with water guns.
Current location: La Cruz (Huanacaxtle), Mexico
Another week has passed and here we are still in La Cruz. We love this place, but are now REALLY ready to get sailing and see new places. We pulled out of the marina into the anchorage without a functioning engine to save some money. This was accomplished by “tug boating” out of our slip and into the open water. We tied our dinghy to the side of our sailboat and as I drove, Ben towed us out. Our friend, Earline stood by in his own dinghy in case we needed his assistance. All went smoothly and we are now enjoying our “free” stay in the anchorage. The new transmission is on the way and should be here early next week so my mechanic, Ben, can install it and we can be on our merry way.
As promised a flashback to our CLOSE encounter of a WHALE kind.…
Not since the Whale Sharks in La Paz has an encounter with wildlife been as exciting. Unfortunately with our boat on the fritz, we weren’t able to bring Colleen out sailing and explore different anchorages as much as we would have liked. However, our friends on Endeavor (The Phillips family-a link to their blog at right) invited us out for a sail and snorkel to Tres Murietas Islands a couple days after Christmas.
As we set sail across Banderas Bay all of the Doolittles were amazed at the smooth sailing and speed of their beautiful Taswell 49 sailboat. Just like cars, sailboats all drive a bit differently and when you have an additional ten feet of waterline your ability to sail more quickly increases exponentially. This is where Ben would go into a scientific explanation of water displacement, blah, blah, blah, however, I would like to explain it with my own expertise and knowledge: Dang, that sucker can sail!!!
Let me digress in saying that Endeavor is often the first boat our boys look for when entering a new anchorage. We met the Washington natives while sailing down to Cabo San Lucas during the Baja-Ha-Ha and they have now become cherished friends. The boys love to spend time with Sydney and James (12 year old twins) while they swing in their hammock or bogart their Wii for hours on end. These are nice, grounded kids and Ben and I can only hope to have pre-teens as fun and kind as these two. J.P. is currently knitting a scarf for Sydney’s teddy bear…and we all know J.P. isn’t about to do anything like that for just anybody!!
So we all headed out of the marina (along with Colleen and our other new friend ‘Lawn Boy’… a reincarnate of my brother K.J. It concerns and delights me that the planet is occupied with two such energetic, crazy, enthused men). Ben, Lawn Boy and I spent a good amount of time looking at each other giggling about how our smaller and older boats would get their butts kicked by Endeavor. Tickled with our smooth ride and ability to cover lots of ground in little time, we set out for the islands (approximately a 2 hour sail).
After reaching our destination, we hopped into kayaks and snorkel gear to explore the waters. We had the place to ourselves and happily floated in the water until a Catamaran carrying approximately a hundred tourists arrived. It quickly started offloading the gringos all decked out in fluorescent life preservers and snorkel gear. Taking our cue, we headed back to the boat for some lunch and beer.
It’s at these times when I feel a bit smug about my life. Sitting up on deck, watching the vacationers being herded around in their borrowed equipment, I felt a bit sorry for them. Our bathing suits and snorkel gear have become a part of our every day wardrobe and we can take our own sweet time exploring sites since our timeline is not dictated by a weeklong vacation. Of course, this lifestyle comes with many disadvantages (broken transmissions, limited budget, home schooling, etc.), and if asked many of the tourists would probably feel quite sorry for the crazy haired, poor sap like me, living on a tiny boat with 3 guys.
As we made our way back across the bay, we spied manta rays hurling themselves completely out of the water and pointed out the whale watching boats who were following a few of the big guys. But the high point was yet to come. As our host, Rick went down below to mix up some Rum and Cokes, we all sat in the cockpit chatting while the children lay on the bow of the boat.
As our drinks were being handed to us, we heard a huge “SPLASH” and a wall of water came flying down up on the boat. The kids scurried off the bow, screaming and laughing, drenched from head to toe. All I remember is someone yelling, “Oh my God! That was a whale!!”.
Sure enough I looked over the left (port) side of the boat just as the whale was submerging back into the water leaving a huge outline of bubbles where he just had been. There was literally a few inches between us and the huge creature! We all reverted back to acting like little kids laughing and squealing about how amazing it was! Unbeknownst to us, the whale had been swimming in the area probably trying to avoid the whale watching boats. Thanks to the creatures quick thinking we were able to avoid any contact except for the huge spray of water which made the encounter even more exciting. It was like being in the first row at Sea World, but without having to pay and $80 entrance fee.
With another great sailing story to tell, we pulled back into the Marina in La Cruz still chuckling at our close encounter with one of the largest creatures on the planet.
Posted by J.P. at 2:55 PM