After a long day of travel via LAX, it was about 4 pm. (that was the local time...Kim never resets his watch, a pet peeve of mine. He's always running on Indiana time, which in this case was 6 pm.) when we arrived in the Baja Mexican town of Loreto.
Welcome to Loreto International Airport!
For those of you who share my struggle with geography, here are a couple of maps to show you where we went. The red section is the Mexican state of Baja California Sur...
I love charming little airports like these....
...but I don't love the inefficiency of most charming little airports. After waiting in a very long line for what seemed like a very long time, we got through security and boarded a bus which would take us across the peninsula to our awaiting boat, the National Geographic Sea Bird.
Loreto is located on the Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez), and we were in for a 3-hour bus ride across the mountains.
We were definitely not in Kansas Indiana any more!
It was dark by the time we arrived at the dock, but here's an image I made later in the week of our home-away-from-home.
This is our room, very tiny but functional. We had a sink area as well as a "shoilet"...a toilet/shower combo like I've seen in campers.
There's something very intriguing to me about tiny spaces where every space is utilized to its fullest.
No, the beds were not particularly comfortable, but we made do.
And there was adequate reading material to keep us occupied!
That evening we met in the lower level lounge for some general information. There were 56 passengers on board and about 20 staff/crew members.
This is the founder of the travel company, Natural Habitat, known by seasoned guests as Nat Hab. Ben Bressler founded this company 35 years ago, and this trip was in celebration of its 35-year anniversary. At the left is Court, another Nat Hab employee/naturalist/all-around nice guy.
The boat Captain...
We awoke the next morning in our 2nd-deck room about mid-ship...
...to our first of many glorious Baja sunrises.
Wow! What a welcome!
After a delicious breakfast buffet in the lower level dining room, the mandatory "Abandon Ship" drill before we lifted anchor...
We only cruised around the Magdalena Bay and lagoons so we never lost sight of land, but I don't think I could swim to the shore. Not even close!
We had several naturalists on board with us, but Christine was one of our favorites. She is a diving specialist but has loads of knowledge about all things marine-related. Someday I'd love to go snorkeling on one of her adventures!
The boat's bridge....
Walking sticks for off-board adventures...
This was our attendance tracker. We were in Room 204, so whenever we got off the boat for whale-watching or beach-strolling, we moved our pegs to the right.
One evening was Mexican-themed (quite appropriate!), and a local guitar duo entertained with music...
...before our dinner Mexican buffet.
Not my favorite meal of the trip, but in general the food was very good!
Sunrise snack on the deck...I had to enjoy a very rare (for me!) morning mimosa to go along with my coffee.
The top deck...although it was too chilly to do any sunning up there.
Pulling up anchor was a loud experience...
But most of the time it was very peaceful.
This island is a mystery. Called Marguerita Island, its geography and topography is completely different from the Mexico mainland or any other islands around. The theory is it got sliced off another piece of land during a continental shelf movement.
Kim bonded with another naturalist Adam...
...(who just happens to be Christine's man), who grew up on a Nebraska cattle farm. They had fun talking farm stuff.
Our last day in the bay, the water was choppy but oh-so-gorgeous!
When I think of Mexico in March, I think tropical. This was not tropical at all...high 60s for temperatures and always windy. So it was chilly on the water!
Sundown our last evening...
...and a final anniversary celebration and fun game time with Ben and the staff.
Our adventure continues tomorrow, but here's a taste of our...
...life aboard the Sea Bird.