All my life I’ve wanted to explore the islands of the Sea of Cortez. The world knows little about these remote places, but UNESCO does—they’ve been designated a World Heritage Site.
I started organizing this journey four years ago. The first two years were tested out with the Cabo Expeditions team, and then I invited three friends along on the third trip. In May 2012 fourteen of us set off for a fourth island exploration of our Baja heritage. Six were guests and the rest of us crew.
We wanted to select a group with a wide range of personalities and backgrounds. That was on purpose—we wanted to find out the likes and needs of different kinds of people, with the hope that one day we can offer a similar adventure to all our guests.
So here’s the cast of characters:
My brother Miguel and I led the group. For good measure we included two doctors: Luis Landeros, a Mexican, and Richard Hull, an American. Richard also represented the older generation. His son Michael is the owner of Cabo Submarine.
We wanted the feminine viewpoint too, so we invited our friends Ana Maria Yarza and Adriana Siller, both from Cabo.
Oscar Ramirez is a photographer and owner of Ola Design, and one of our main sponsors in the annual Beach and Underwater Cleanup. Oscar won this trip as the winner of the photo contest I set up. Whoever’s photo posted on Facebook got the most “likes” won—that was the other Oscar.
We had an outstanding crew, too. My brother Miguel Noriega captains the Expedition VII and Jose Calvario, our most senior employee, captains the Expedition VIII. A third whale-watching captain, Richard Enrique Garcia—”Ricky Ricky“—joined up, filling in as a deckhand.
The boats are Zodiacs—known for their stability, durability and speed. I remember when I bought my first boat. I was scared to take on the financial responsibility. But my friend, who is now my accountant, said “What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll just have to tell your lender that you can’t make the payments and give it back.”
But it didn’t happen that way, the business took off and I was able to pay off the boat and buy thirteen more. When I made that last payment, my lender said “You have an open line of credit with me.”
So these boats mean more to me that just modes of transportation. They stand for the way the right people show up in our lives when we take those first steps toward a dream.
Captain Jose Calvario is one of the most popular captains on Cabo Expeditions’ whale watching tours. It must be those years of experience – or the twinkle in his eye!
The last three crew members included Aaron Rosas, our van driver, the brother of Rosario who works in the office. Jesus Ramon Hernandez , or “Chuy,” is our kayaking and snorkeling guide. We call him our “Calvin Klein,” because he supplied the eye candy for any photos I was taking.
Last but certainly not least is Manuel “Tio Guero” Salvador, Beto’s uncle. He’s the grand senior guide of the region. He’s been doing tours for years, has great leadership skills – but most of all, he’s a great cook! The key to a great trip.
So these were the people who formed a floating family as we headed north, destination Loreto.
We were to take the van from Cabo to La Paz, overnight there, then embark to Espiritu Santo. It took us four years to organize this trip and to determine the composition of the group. We would soon discover that the true personalities of people come out when they’re out of their comfort zones!
To be continued…