Day 12, June 11th (Catalina Island, where we did some hiking, and Puerto Gato, where we spent the night)
I love the hiking. It’s a form of meditation for me. This is what happens: When you’re hiking, you’re not always watching the summit. When you are concentrating on the path, that’s when you’re truly happy. When your mind is where your steps are, when your mind is just on your breathing, your mission is to just keep going.
You have to be prepared and take care of yourself. I hike with my back pack, my cameras, and everything. Sometimes you have to go down to take a better road, but if you are taking one step at a time, not going off into the past or the future, you’ll be in the present—where there is more serenity.
If you’re hiking, you leave your cultured self. You just see the panorama and say “Wow! I’m so happy.” As with life, you don’t want to carry too much weight on your shoulders. It’s always good to travel light.
One of the amazing plants on uninhabited Catalina Island is the giant barrel cactus that lives just here, nowhere else. We found some between six feet and almost nine feet. Last time we found a huge cactus that was the height of two persons.
We were puzzled how plants could grow so large in this dry and withering climate. We discovered the answer: when you cross the island, in the middle there are clouds. For fifteen minutes we were cold. But that’s why the plants here are so healthy, even though it rarely rains – they get water from the mist of these clouds.
Day 13, June 12th (Las Animas and San Francisquito, where we spent the night)
We did some free diving here. Las Animas is one of the best places in the Sea of Cortez to go spear fishing. We didn’t have any spears – I don’t like the killing part, just the eating part! Our chef Tio Guero has a lot of knowledge of the area. He caught three fish – a snapper, a grouper and a triggerfish.
Tio Guero is always laughing and telling tall tales about his experiences, then says “I’ve got the pictures to prove it.” He’s a man of the sea; he likes what he does and knows what he’s doing. He’s very good at reading people and anticipating their needs. A great asset for Cabo Expeditions.
Day 14, June 13th (Los Islotes, Espiritu Santo, El Tecolote beach–where we had carne asada again, then La Paz)
We gave thanks to God that we all arrived safely and had a great time. While we were making the carne asada to celebrate we saw four fin whales! These giants are second only to blue whales in size! Their long bodies are really streamlined. What a great way to end our journey.
We learned to look around at the smallest creatures, the geology, not just the big animals. The smallest ones are just as important as the bigger ones. The rugged geology of this region makes you wonder “what happened here?!”
Today Beto admitted (eleven days later) that he left his very expensive hiking sandals behind on Espiritu Santo. He mentioned it to a crew member from another company, who told him that he saw the sandals on the beach, but thought they belonged to one of the guests who were snorkeling close by at the time. These sandals come with a lifetime guarantee, but the guarantee doesn’t cover lost pairs!
Lessons learned for Cabo Expeditions:
1. We had to hone our skills – how to set up the tents, in what direction, how to anchor, how to set up the sleeping pads and equipment, etc. in order to be efficient.
2. We had fresh food and ice water on the first couple of days because we came from the mainland, but we realized in the coming days that those were a luxury that we wouldn’t have until we reached Loreto. (Fresh fish we could catch, but not ice water…)
3. When we travel, our true selves shine. I like to observe people because it tells me a lot (in the way the person sets up the tent, sleeping pad, etc.).
4. It’s a time to let go, knowing that the next day is going to be different. Don’t think about things that are going to happen when you come back.
5. We had to learn patience. We like things to be a certain way, but each person is different.
6. This is not just a trip, but an experience. It’s a trip within yourself; an opportunity to know yourself and get out of your comfort zone.
7. You realize how much water you use on little things such as washing the dishes.
8. You learn to conserve your energy by staying in the shade, because the sun saps your energy even when you’re not doing anything!
One night when we were on Palma Sola Island, we pretended we were in a drive-in, watching a movie projected on the huge rock wall that borders the beach.
It turns out that Oscar Ramirez made a composite photo of us that he presented to us at the end of the journey. In it we are sitting on the beach facing the wall, where he added a scene from the movie “Titanic.”
Unlike that ill-fated ship, the only mishaps on our happy voyage were the loss of two pairs of sandals!
We headed back to Cabo San Lucas with a contented spirit, eager to share our adventures with our friends.