Gypsy Crossings

Cabo San Lucas - Our Next Safe Haven

First and foremost we are grateful for this bustling port of Cabo San Lucas. Marina Cabo San Lucas took us in and allowed us to stay despite the lack of appropriate paperwork. That is of course because of their relationship with Victor Barreda, our expeditor who I wrote about in my last post. Nonetheless they have been very accommodating. We needed a safe space to wait out this bureaucratic storm and they provided. It’s a well run marina with clean bathrooms and laundry facilities and lots of staff, smartly dressed and visible at all hours. It is right in the heart of the tourist scene and anyone who has been here knows, that is what Cabo is all about.

I mentioned in my last blog that we arrived at Cabo in the middle of Spring Break. I became aware of this when I saw a sign or two indicating events for the Spring Breakers. We thought it might be upcoming because it really didn’t seem all that busy. It didn’t take long though to see that the crowds that came and went, in and out of the harbor on chartered yachts, were young, scantily clad collegiate types. Over the course of the next week what they lacked in numbers volume they made up for in decibel volume. This is not a place to come if quiet is your preference. Yes, it’s lively but peaceful it is not, for me at least. Our slip is in the center of the marina so we hear it all. The yachts for hire love to play their music loud. As they come and go music wafts along with them. In the evenings when the bigger tour boats come back in the harbor, the sun-drenched vacationers are often singing, line dancing and displaying other free-spirited type antics.

A good number of the boats in this marina seem to be yachts for hire. They are from all over, not just local. On our dock we have boats from Colorado, Oregon, Malibu, San Diego, and Victoria, BC, as well as local ones. I’ve read that this is an affordable way to keep a boat - cruise when you want and when you are not using it, charter it out to cover the costs. Makes sense. This is the perfect place to do that. The cruise ships that usually come and go regularly, along with the land based vacationers, provide a steady stream of customers. Water transportation is essential to get the tourists to the dive and snorkeling spots and some out of the way beaches, like Lover’s Beach and Divorce Beach.

Besides the loudness of them all, the other big problem I have had with these yachts is that they run on diesel. The boat operators are ever-present waiting for the next willing visitor. While they wait the staff keep the boats spotless and run the engines periodically. Since we are surrounded by these yachts that pretty much means there is diesel being blasted in the air continually for about 10 hours a day. Entering the harbor I had noticed a smog layer lingering in the atmosphere and was puzzled as to where it might be coming from. Now I know. Diesel has always triggered stress in my body. It’s no different here and because of the volume of it I have had a quite a few headaches and migraines.

Now onto one of my favorite subjects - what about the wildlife here? The Cabos sea lions seem to be very well trained and stay off the docks, unlike Ventura sea lions who think the docks are their bedrooms. In Ventura, if a dock didn’t regularly have humans walking on it, the sea lions would check in for a long nap. It wasn’t uncommon to see 5-gallon buckets or coyote statues set up to deter the sleepy lugs. Even then they would sometimes push them aside and play the rollover game. You remember… “and the little one says, roll over, roll over, so they all rolled over and one fell off”. Digression into childhood rhymes, hmmm, maybe the diesel is even worse than I thought.

Other than the sea lions we are regularly entertained by a couple of osprey, a few egrets, many seagulls, vultures and several pelicans. The pelicans also have somewhat different behavior than Ventura pelicans. They are the same Brown Pelican but have adapted different feeding habits. Here in Cabo the pelicans are more like seagulls. They follow the fishing boats around and look for handouts. Our first indication of this was when we entered Santa Maria Bay. A pelican landed right beside us as we motored to our anchorage. It sat atop the water and looked at us as if to say, “Welcome and what did you bring me? My life is easier if you feed me.” It must be a southern Baja habit because in Turtle Bay we enjoyed hours of watching the pelicans dive from great heights and enter the water at breakneck speed to get their meals. They worked continually at it. I will eventually post a picture of a Santa Maria pelican who planted himself right on our antenna equipment. See the look in his eye, gazing down at us as if we were invading his space. We let him think he was the boss and retreated back into the cabin. Bob said in all his years on the coast he has never seen pelicans behave like these in southern Baja.

Farther out at the harbor entrance is where the frigate birds soar. Their large wingspan and forked tails make them very distinct. I had never met a frigate bird until we started this journey. In a natural navigation guide I learned that they are very fast flyers and don’t spend much time on or in the water. They do not have the ability to shake water off their feathers very well. If it is sunset and you are not sure which way is land follow a frigate bird. They will be heading to shore for the evening. One night when we were far off shore one tried to land on our mast for a rest. We were rolling too much for a successful landing so it eventually chose a spot on the deck. It rested for an hour or so and then continued one. Here we watch them soar and occasionally they will chase a seagull or two into the marina. They feed by getting another bird to dislodge the food out of its system. They then catch it in midair and enjoy the stolen meal.

Cabo, like many resort towns, is a mix of wealth and poverty. Here the poverty is maybe a bit more visible than in other places. A skeleton structure of what was once going to be a new hotel complex sits at the end of our dock. A good portion of cement got poured but that’s as far as they got. Now it seems to be home to garbage, cats and roosters who we hear crowing in the early morning hours before the boats and music commence. Along the marina promenade local crafts people sit in the shade selling their trinkets. They are relentless in trying to get tourists to buy what they have to sell. Children join their mothers in the evening. The young girls come at you with their big brown eyes. If you don’t buy from them their smile turns into a pout or a cute little whine. In a similar manner all the restaurants, tour boat operations and cosmetic companies come at you, nonstop. The competition for the tourist dollars is fierce. I’ve been told that not all of Baja is like this. Cabo is the most touristy and unique with this aggressive sales behavior. I will see soon enough. We finally have our TIP and we will be on the move tomorrow. We head to San Jose del Cabos which is about four hours towards the East.