Thursday, January 26, 2012

Whale Watching in Bahia de Banderas


Warning...this post is long. BUT WAIT!! It is FUN and FULL of photos! So, read it, will you? I think you'll enjoy it...especially the part about my "Scottish" husband...

"Bahia de Banderas" or "Banderas Bay"...a "shark-free", mountain-lined, dolphin-filled winter home to humpback whales.

I put "shark-free" in quotes because you know what they say in Mexican markets, "for you senorita, almost free today". Their "free" seems to be just a bit different than our "free". But, that's what they claim.

Shark-free waters because of the (5? maybe more?) different species of dolphins that inhabit this bay...they supposedly keep the sharks away (word on the pier is that there has never been a shark spotted in the bay...) which in turn makes for fabulous breeding grounds for humpback whales.

No sharks to eat the baby whales. Gory, I know.

And now, aren't you so glad you know that little tidbit of information? Someday, if you win a million dollars because of it, you owe me 10%. Finders fee, or something. ;)

So...anyway...onto the story, Mama.


The morning of the wedding, we woke up bright and early...roused my aunt and cousin (whose clock was about 30 minutes behind and whom thought they could go back to bed for a bit...boy were they surprised when we told them they had approximately 4.7 minutes to get ready and get to the lobby to catch our taxi to the pier. Funny stuff...), gathered T. and began our voyage to "Paradise Pier".

Wait. Before I go any further, I have something to share with you. MUY IMPORTANTE, so listen up.

If you get any hint of motion sickness, you MUST procure yourself a scopolamine patch before engaging in any sort of potential motion sickness inducing activity. I wear them on flights, long car rides, whale watching expeditions ('cuz I do so many of those) and I am convinced that they saved me from any...NOT A SINGLE, ITTY BITTY HINT...of seasickness.

And let me tell you something else...I am one motion sick prone chica. Like, I get sick SWINGING, for Pete's sake. I changed my patch the night before our ship sailed from the pier into the choppy waters of Bahia de Banderas and I didn't feel the slightest twinge of barfiness.

Miraculous, I tell you. Thank you, dear inventor of scopolamine. (It does, however, give you the world's worst cotton mouth.)

Okay, continuing on...

So, as the sun peeked over the mountains (I have no idea what mountain range this is...but I do know that Nuevo and Puerto Vallarta apparently used to be in different time zones...basically, the city was split, and they recently both joined CST, the best time zone, but our phones still picked up the old time zone, Mountain time, which was terribly confusing to all of us...trivia for you. Same deal as above...10%.) we waited for our boat to arrive.


Fun story about the boat...the company that our hotel dude works with usually sends peeps out in a rubber raft (no lie) to whale watch. The day we wanted to go, the raft was full, so he worked a deal and got us in with another company, but "oh no" it's on a sailboat. For 20 bucks less per person.


Turns out that was the best thing that ever happened! The boat was an old Norwegian racing boat that won a bunch of races back in it's day. During one of the World Wars, Norway (I think it was Norway...this just in!! It was, indeed, NOT Norway. Holland, apparently. See comments below, thanks bestie!) was afraid their "treasure" would be looted and pillaged (or stolen, but looting and pillaging sounds so much more fun) so they filled it with mud and sank it in a lake.

After the war, they resurrected it, refurbished it and sent it off...and today it is a whale watching boat! Not sure if you know this about sailboats or not, but they have a galley. And I'm not sure if you know this about galleys or not, but they are teeny tiny kitchens.


And the fun thing about kitchens on boats is that they procure delicious drinks (more on this in a sec) and fresh guac and pico and chips from within.

Oh yes...so, remember? We were supposed to be booked on a rubber raft? (FYI...rubber rafts don't have galleys) For $20 bucks more? And instead, we "so sad" got booked on sailboat (with a history!!) AND got free drinks and snacks?

Hell ya!! Also, friends, meet Gil:



He was our very own personal "professional wildlife photographer" on board. Fun stuff. The following are his photos (between this paragraph and the next...I want to make sure to give him credit...but get cred for mine! Oh, and not all of these were from our watch...he keeps his best and adds ones from each expedition! We didn't see any whales breaching...saddness.):


Also, friends...meet my husband, who apparently becomes 1/16th Scottish (or so he claims...VERY loudly) after several (yes, I said SEVERAL) margaritas. Do you remember what I said earlier? About getting up really early? Yeah, so my Scottish husband had several margaritas WAY before noon. Which is WAY before it's 5 o'clock somewhere.


Even ask Jimmy Buffet. The time of day that my husband was downing tequila was probably even too early for Jimmy. Plus...remember what I said WAY at the beginning of this epic novel? The whole "morning of the wedding" thing? You know, that whole reason WHY we traveled to Mexico and left our children (which is a whole 'nother story) in the care of others, in the first place?

Yeah, THAT reason?

Well, I had visions of my newly Scottish husband passed out cold, unable to make it to the ceremony...and with the way my normally quiet and reserved husband was TALKING REALLY LOUD, I was certain we were headed in that direction.



So, I did what any controlling and overbearing wife would do...I asked for a sip of his drink and promptly tossed it into the depths of the ocean...handing him back an empty cup with a cute little "oops" attached.

He promptly (LOUDLY) ordered another. And...repeat above scene. And repeat the ordering.

I finally threw my hands up and thought, "Oh well!" at least I tried. Thankfully, we were on our way back to the pier by the time he was
really getting Scottish...at, you know, 11 am. (And why Scottish?) He kept saying things like, "I BUILT IT WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS!!!!" with a very thick and (have I mentioned LOUD?) Minnesooootan sounding Scottish brogue.


Weird.


Anyway...the whale watching was AMAZING! We talked about how even if we hadn't seen a single whale, it was worth it. Awesome crew, awesome weather, awesome scenery, awesome pico (and the Mr. would throw in a "awesome margaritas!" here)!


We even saw a couple of dolphins who came and swam alongside our boat for a bit...but I missed it. By the time I got up to the front, they swam off. :(


So...if you are traveling to the Nuevo/Puerto Vallarta area and want to do some whale watching...ask for the Pegaso tour/company. You will NOT be disappointed!

18 comments:

  1. SO cool! Looks like you had a fun time. :)

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    1. Oh, T...it was amazing! I loved it!

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  2. Hey M, it was Holland (not Norway)--I remember this because that's what got Mr. M talking about "I built it with my own two hands!"--he heard the story and went on and on about how proud the Dutch were and would say things like that. Not at all sure how he went from that to claiming to be 1/16 Scottish and then stealing their phrase . . .ah, the power of Margaritas in the Morning!! :)

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    1. Oh. Yes. Holland. Um, who was drinking the margaritas?! Geez...

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  3. It looks like that was great fun for you and your newly "Scottish" husband!

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    1. Ohmigosh. He was hilarious. I've always wanted a Scottish husband, so...yay? ;)

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  4. Wow...how cool was that? I feel like I just spent the morning on a sailboat. And I'm even feeling a bit tipsy. This looks awesome!

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    1. Well, Diane, I'm so glad I could provide you with this experience!! Seriously though, it truly was awesome! The highlight of the trip (aside from the wedding, of course...)!

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  5. Those pics are beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!! I would love to be able to go whale watching!

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    1. I would recommend it to anyone! It is amazing and wonderful and awesome...and hilarious, sometimes, too apparently. ;)

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  6. Uh... So were you not the one to take the picture of the dolphin?

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    1. Nope! The long string of photos above are Gil's. (Sorry, I probably didn't make that clear! What I meant to say was the photos between those two paragraphs were ALL his and all others in the post are mine!)

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  7. We went to Puerto Vallarta for our honeymoon, but I guess the whales aren't there in October :(. We did go deep sea fishing though, and I do mean in the sea. We went through the bay and out to the Pacific. We were experiencing the tail end of Hurricane Stan, so there were huge ocean swells, it was quite an experience!

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    1. Bummer!!! The whales are awesome! I totally could've gone out every day...I love whales. But, I realized that after looking at the photos, you know, they aren't really all that cute! Incredible amazing...but cute? No.

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  8. wow! lucky you..whale watching!! your pictures look so fun.
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

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  9. That was a fun tale and I am glad I stuck with it through to the end. Your were right and it was worth it.

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  10. Wow, what an amazing experience. The photos are awesome.

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  11. Wow... that's quite near. I know that whale watching oban is a thing in there but I can't believe that it's that close!

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I love comments! And, I welcome your thoughts that aren't in agreement with mine...as long as they are respectful!

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