Saturday, July 2, 2011

6 Day Bus Trip Guide Report: March 16-21


Six-Day Bus Trip • March 16-21, 2011
By:  Linda Ayers

2011 will go down in the books — at least my book— as the most amazing whalewatch season ever. Guests on the March 16-21 bus trip were treated to excellent weather in Baja and even more excellent whales. With San Ignacio Lagoon still occupied by lots of moms and babies, there was ample opportunity for some real quality whale-petting and, yes, whale kissing! A number of single whales were still in residence, so not only were the cow/calf pairs super friendly, but we also observed some enthusiastic mating. (Let’s hear it for the “Pink Floyds!”)

Our group of 12, plus guide, met in San Diego. We were then transported aboard comfortable shuttle vans across the Mexican border and directly to the Central Tijuana Bus Terminal. After reserved bus tickets were purchased, my guests and I obtained tourist cards and then settled in for a short wait until departure time.  At the appointed hour, bags were checked and we boarded the ABC bus for San Ignacio.

The bus trip south had few interruptions and I believe most of our group was able to catch a few “winks.” At regular inspection stops, the ever-polite Federales checked all passengers and the bus was on its way. Morning found us in San Ignacio where our local transport waited. After a great breakfast at San Ignacio Springs B&B and a brief stop in town, we were off to the lagoon.

Campo Cortez was a welcome sight as always with Maldo Fischer, “father” of the camp there to greet us. After a brief orientation, cabins were assigned and everyone made themselves at home. Following lunch it was time for the first trip out to visit the whales. Even after six seasons I still get excited about the first encounter, and the whales did not disappoint. The entire time at camp was filled with nature walks, lagoon treks, birds, coyotes, dolphin and of course the very friendly whales. Good food and conversation were plentiful.

It’s always hard to say “Adios,” but eventually that time came. We packed up our gear and photo treasures, said good-bye to our hosts and headed back to town for a little “decompressing.” Dinner was waiting for us at the B&B and then it was time to board the northbound bus for the border and then San Diego. We all started out as strangers with similar interests and ended up as friends with similar memories.

How fortunate I am to be able to guide guests to this magical, yet fragile environment. I hope everyone goes home with the same lovely stories as I do and spreads the word about San Ignacio Lagoon, Campo Cortez and the Fischer family who keep it going.