Tuesday, April 16, 2019

We're in Wine Country!

Our last stop in Mexico was 2 nights in Ensenada. On the way to our hotel, we stopped at La Bufadora, the second largest blowhole in the world! It was pretty impressive, although a better view would have been from the water.

This guy had a better view than I did, but I wasn't about to climb out there.

The name of this tour is "Whales and Wine." Unfortunately, when the whales are here, the grapes aren't, and vice versa. But the next day, we did a trip to the wine country of Guadalupe. We stopped at the Decantos Winery.

Whoops! I guess this is the wrong time of year.

But never fear, they still had lots of bottles of wine waiting to be sold and shipped.

We got a tour of their facility.

Wow! That's a lot of bottles!

We had lunch there - 3 courses, each with a different wine pairing. Quite impressive!

Outside was a very unique wooden table.

The next morning, we headed back to the US, crossing the border at Tecate. Guess what they make here!

We made it!

Our drive back to Phoenix was pretty uneventful, except for the fact that we had to drive through a huge flock of butterflies!

The tour I went on was done by A Closer Look Tours. It's the same company that I went to Copper Canyon with last year. It was very well run, and our guide was tremendous. I highly recommend them!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Lots of Salt and Birds!

We stayed in Guerrero Negro for 2 nights, and had a couple more excursions besides the whale-watching trips. On the first evening, we went on a short jaunt over to the water to see a little bit of how they make so much salt here. Water sits in ponds, and when it evaporates, it leaves the salt behind.

We also saw a couple of beautiful birds, a Great Egret -

And something else. (You can tell I'm not much of a birder...)

Then the next morning we went on a tour of the salt works - the largest in the world!

Loading up the salt into huge trucks -

To take it over where it is loaded onto barges via a very long moving belt.

While we were there, we saw hundreds of these birds fly in.

We also got to see a skeleton of a whale.

The following morning, we started our trip back north. We stopped for lunch at a unique restaurant near San Quintin, where I got to see a shark jump through the dock and grab this poor little sea lion! (Yeah, right...)

We also got a nice shot of our group, with our guide, Bonifacio, on the right. It was a great group!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

More Whales!

And if one fantastic whale petting adventure wasn't enough, we went on another one the next day! Once again, as soon as we got out to the main area of the lagoon, the friendly whales arrived.

A short video showing 3 whales around out boat!

This time I brought my underwater camera. I had to lean over the edge of the boat, which was bouncing up and down, and try to keep the camera underwater. I got a lot of bad shots, but a few good ones.

I even got an eyeball!

The most exciting thing we saw was this threesome mating, which I got on video. Well, actually two are mating, but the other male assists in keeping the female steady.

One our way back to the dock, a whale decided to follow along with us!

Our guide got a video of it!

Then when we got back closer to our dock, we saw a dead whale that had washed up on the beach. So sad!

Back at our hotel, there was an osprey nest right out front.

I think they're giving us the evil eye!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Finally! WHALES!

After a very long drive, we finally got to our hotel near Guerrero Negro, the Halfway Inn, right on the border between Baja California and Baja Sur. I loved all the shells on the ground in the courtyard.

Bright and early the next morning, we got on the bus and went into the town of Guerrero Negro, and then in a van to the dock on Ojo de La Liebre, aka Scammon's Lagoon.

We got bundled up for our half-hour trip out to where the whales are. This was a month ago, so it was pretty chilly.

We aren't allowed to go to where the babies are being born, but we are allowed out where the moms and babies are, and the mating pairs.

We first went by a bunch of sea lions. Cute, but we're looking for WHALES!

And after we got out to the lagoon, it didn't take long for the whales to come up to us!

Here's a picture that another one of our group took of me taking a very closeup photo while I'm petting a whale.


The whale's eyeball, in the center of this photo, is the size of a baseball!

My hand petting!

So why do the whales come up to the boats? No one knows, but my theory is that they are trying to rub their barnacles off on the bottom of the boat.

The blowholes look like a "V" on the top.

And when they blew, we got wet!

The whales were very polite, and waved us "goodbye." It was time to go back to the hotel, but we had another whale trip the next day.

Back at the hotel, we had a great lunch.

But the best was the dessert - the best flan I've had so far!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Heading Down Baja

The next day, we left San Quentin, and continued down to where the whales are in Guerrero Negro. We made a couple of stops along the way.

Our first stop was to see the kinds of cactus that grow here in Baja.

Of course I was distracted by the flowers -

And a Red-Tailed Hawk flying overhead.

I really loved the Boojum, a member of the ocotillo family.

And the largest cactus was the Cardon. It looks similar to a saguaro, but the arms branch out closer to the ground. It's the tallest cactus species in the world.

We even got to see a Crested Cardon!

And we saw some Bearded Cactus, or Old Man Cactus.

And we made another stop for a short hike up to a cave to see some cave paintings.

Really cool!

Next up - WHALES!