Sunday, March 8, 2015

Whale watching & Marieta Island


We set off Saturday morning for a 10:00 a.m. launch.   Well, a 10:20 a.m. launch, because the girls have mastered Mexico time and we were late.   The trip was fantastic, our captain and whale spotter positioned us for some great views and pictures.   They certainly earned a tip......add another 400 pesos to the cost of the excursion!    Emotion coupled with great service makes Lara & Gray very generous it seems.  

We saw whales, dolphins, turtles, flying rays, jumping fish, birds and a beautiful island.   I wasn't able to capture most of it on film, but what I did manage to photograph is pretty awesome.      

Our whale spotter found a humpback and her calf within the first 15 minutes.    We watched them swimming along at a distance for about 20 minutes before they decided to swim right up beside our boat....TWICE!!!!    It was awe inspiring and really quite emotional.   We all had tears in our eyes.

It didn't take long for all the other boats out on a whale watch to realize that we were having an awesome encounter, and suddenly there were a dozen boats surrounding us.   We had the best boat (with a shelter from the sun) and lots of room to move around.   The other boats were filled with people, sitting like sardines and no shelter.    We decided to go check out the island and look for more whales after a snorkel.   

After the whale watch we went to Marieta Island for a snorkel.     I was getting pretty sea sick by then, so I was very happy to hop out of the boat and into the chilly, refreshing water.    It is a very popular spot.  You snorkel through that little hole you can see in the rock and it takes you into a tiny sandy beach inside the island.    The islands are protected, and you are no longer allowed to go on it except for this small section.    It belongs to the birds, as is apparent by the incredible amount of bird poo.

Our whale spotter, whose name I never did quite master.   I believe it is Alandro, but I am sure Lara will correct me on that. 

Joni, our captain.   

Jumping fish.    I don't know what kind, but there were hundreds of them.

We saw one dolphin on the way back, but by the time I pointed my camera at her this was the best shot I could get.    She disappeared, and we went back to dock.    Unfortunately, after the snorkel there were no more whales hanging around for another encounter.  

3 years ago we went on a whale watch while in Sayulita.    It cost $200 U.S to rent the boat and a captain.    The boat seated up to 8 people.    We thought it would be around the same, but were appalled to find out it is now $300.00 U.S.  That felt too rich for our blood.   Gray did some googling and found a tripadvisor post that said you could get better prices if you go down to the marina in Punta Mita, so Gerry and I headed over there on Friday.  We both really wanted the girls to be able to see the beautiful humpbacks.    

Punta Mita  is about a half hour drive from Sayulita.    Punta Mita is actually closer to the Marietas Islands, so the boat trip is shorter.    We found a captain willing to take us out for $160 U.S., or $2,200 pesos for a 3 hour tour, which is about $200 Canadian.    Without a whale watch it would only cost $120 U.S.    We took his card and headed back to Sayulita to see what the girls wanted to do.

If you want to contact our captain his name is Jonathan Reyes, he speaks English very well.  His cell number is 011 52 1 322 199 5711.   From Mexico you need only dial the last 10 numbers.    They also give surfing lessons.

All the boat tours sell the package as a trip to the Marieta Island.   I think they do that so they don't have to guarantee a whale sighting.

Gerry has been under the weather, so he decided he wasn't going to go with us.  He felt that our experience 3 years ago was good enough for him and we have already blown our budget four or five times over and it just wasn't worth it to him.      On top of that, he got another migraine yesterday, so it was a good call.      

Lara and Gray were going to try to find some people who would like to join us, but that was a bust, so we had to split it 3 ways.  $733.33 pesos each is much better than $100 U.S. each!      Well, 1/3 for me and 2/3 for Bernita who picked up the girls tab because it was still a bit too pricey for them and whales being her favourite animal, she just couldn't let Lara miss this opportunity.

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