So, my first view of Mexico. All in all, pretty neutral, tending toward favourable. It’s a very narrow view, since I went ashore at Cabo San Lucas for one purpose only, and a number of things happened before I got to shore that made me a little anxious.
You have to understand that when I do something new, I’m anxious about it – will it go smoothly, what can go wrong, what can happen to mess it up? Every possible problem, hitch and disaster manages to draw itself to my attention. Most of it I can discount – it’s just anxiety, no big deal, but it’s there and the more things don’t go smoothly or as I envision them, the more anxious I get.
The morning started off well enough – I got my walk in – inside, since it was terrifically hot and humid, with a light overcast. We got breakfast, I did some writing and thinking about the new story. And then we were at Cabo San Lucas. It’s a tiny harbour, so we had to tender to shore. No big deal – I’ve tendered twice before, at Sitka, and boy, those tender operators know their vessels! They handle them beautifully.
We met in the Vista Lounge and waited for our excursion to be called. Al wasn’t along this time, he had no urge to go ashore and pet or be involved with the dolphins. So I sat. And sat. Since the ship was organizing this excursion with the shore operators, I tried not to worry when they called excursions that had later start times than mine. But there seemed to be a long time between calling for groups to board the tenders, and finally they told us that the seas were very rough, thanks to Tropical storm/hurricane Simon (or Simone), which of course wouldn’t hit here (thanks guys, I really didn’t need that to worry about too!) But the sea was rough and it was hard for the tenders to come alongside to load passengers safely, so there were delays. Not to worry – we would get ashore, and not lose any time from our excursions.
Finally, the dolphin group got called, but once we got down to A deck, we hit a snag – they had to move the ship to find provide the calmest waters they could for the tenders to come alongside. Our group was to board on that side, since the tender was already there, but another group – one that wasn’t an excursion group – had to wait while the ship loaded us and then moved around to find a calmer facing.
It was hairy, getting onto the tender. Big swells, a couple of feet high it seemed (the cruise director later said 4 foot swells. I noticed that he didn’t tell us that until long after we’d left port and had found calmer seas), breaking up between the tender and the platform, drenching everyone and making everything slick and slippery. The tender rocked and rolled like it was Elvis’ hips. The water was warm, as was the rain, and since I was shortly going to be soaked anyway, it was kind of fun. Wish the trip into shore had been as much fun.
The rough water was fine – it was neat to be in the swells, crashing up and down, rocking to & fro. But the motors didn’t sound right – grindy and intermittent and coughing. And the operator didn’t seem to know what he was doing. He backed off, turned and then gunned it – right into the landing platform. Given the expression on the faces of the crew on the platform and the gestures, this wasn’t the fault of the rough seas. We did get to the dock in the harbour eventually, but it took the combined efforts of the ship’s crew (on radio), the excursion supervisor and the dock crew (also on radio) to get the guy to finally berth the tender on the wrong side of the dock it was supposed to be on.
We were greeted by a bunch of people in costumes who immediately swarmed me and somebody kept saying “Photos! Photos!” I was already nervous, not knowing where to go for the dolphin expedition, and worried about getting lost or missing it, and this pushed me into pre-panic mode. I got out of the photos, just by saying, no, no, no, then found somebody who pointed me in the right direction. Turns out this is standard procedure, and the photographers are from the ship – it happens in every port and it’s apparently very popular.
My state of mind wasn’t helped by the presence of several armed soldiers, and a number of K9 units on the pier (I’d expected the cops, but there were a lot of them. More than I would have thought necessary.)
But we met up and walked over to the dolphin centre, where they managed to mix my dolphin group up with the camel rides, so that we almost went camel riding in bathing suits.
Which would have been almost okay, since it was teeming rain. I felt kind of sorry for the camel riders (Camels, in Mexico? Shook my head at that one, but whatever.)
More about that tomorrow!