A whale of a tale

Y’all wanted to hear more about the whale watching tour Beate and I went on last spring (it was going to be a three hour tour!) and our rescue by the one armed man, so settle in for some pictures and a little story. Here it is!

Our final port of call on the SU! cruise to the Western Caribbean was Cabo San Lucas. This is what we saw from our stateroom balcony as we docked offshore to be tendered in.


We knew that we wanted to go out there in the Pacific and see some whales, and knew that the ship tours were booked and more expensive than what we could get from shore. We’d had great experiences just going with the flow in Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. We hadn’t booked any cruise-scheduled excursions before, and had had a terrific time in those ports. Why would Cabo be any different, right?

More pics and story here (and a challenge card in the morning!)

We had a leisurely breakfast, and then hopped on a tender to the shore. Isn’t the pier pretty?


We were pretty much immediately approached by people offering snorkeling and whale watching and all kinds of other water-type adventures. We wandered around a bit, and saw this sign


and gave a nice guy about $50 bucks each for 2-3 hours of quality time in a boat. He said there were whales aplenty, so we just waited for a few more people to sign up, and then we were off in a little boat. There were plenty of others heading out for the same thing, so we felt pretty safe.


We got way out there, away from the shore, and finally saw the “smoke signals” that let us know whales were coming up for air. So our guide got us closer to the whales, and further out into the ocean.


And we saw this (this is absolutely, positively my favorite picture from this part of the trip. It was even published by SU! along with some of this story in one of their magazines):


Look how happy Beate was!


We saw several more tails, never saw a whale breach, and our captain decided we’d been out there for longer than we’d agreed on (we did not notice how long we were out there, it was so amazing!) and further out, and that it was time to turn back. We were good with that, and hungry! Our fellow passengers had picked up snacks for us when our guide filled up his gas tanks, but we wanted real food, and had plans to meet friends at Cabo Wabo.

Everything was good until about here:


Our driver slowed down, and we saw a big turtle go by, and he finally came clean. We were out of gas. OUT. OF. GAS. Our extra time and distance emptied the tanks, and we were stuck, drifting away. He had no cell phone to call for help. No CB or radio, either. Apparently those were lost in some little accident or something. One of our fellow passengers (Steve, a wonderful SU! employee there with his family) had a cell and started calling to find someone, anyone, who could help us. We were thinking that we’d miss the ship, and have to pay for flights back to California, we’d been out there that long. Happy faces were disappearing quickly.


Another boat was waved over, but they didn’t have room for us all. They did let us use a radio, though, and Steve finally got a call on his cell from our boat captain’s boss, and I did a little eavesdropping. He said (paraphrased and translated), “Let me talk to Juan Angel.” Then shook his head, NO. “No, Juan Angel, the one with only one arm.” And I said, “We’re going to be picked up by a one armed man.” He looked at me, and basically said, “You want to be saved, or you want to swim?” I zipped my trap, and within 30 minutes or so, we met Juan Angel, our one armed angel.


Talk about a sight for sore eyes! We hopped into his glass-bottomed boat and left our guy there. Juan Angel dropped us off, and we found or way to Cabo Wabo and cleaned up a bit so we’d be seated and get some FOOD! I stopped by the bar first. . .


and posed for some cheesy pictures! Our late lunch was delicious, and I did some shopping (mini tequila bottles for everyone!) and we made it to the ship just in time. They were already pulling anchor!

What a trip, huh?

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  1. Posted August 23, 2007 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness! What a story, for sure! The pictures are absolutely beautiful, thanks for sharing…

  2. Kelley
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Well, you could have made something up like he had a hook in the other arm, or something! Oh, well, it was still a fabulous story!!

  3. Posted August 24, 2007 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Hee hee hee!! Didnt you guys get sunburned-fried out there that day???
    What a beautiful pic of the whale tale. S’posed to be good luck, y’know!!!

  4. Posted August 24, 2007 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Wow, what a story! That’s great that everything worked out in the end. Oh it looks so beautiful there, makes me long for a trip to the Caribbean! And your photo of the whale is just AMAZING. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Susan Bally
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Sounds very scary.Something like this happened to me 2 yrs. ago on a cruise. Didn’t book an excursion through the ship. Big mistake.Ended up on a very small overcrowded boat to an island that was supposed to have snorkling, great shopping, and restaurants. Ended up on Gilligan’s Island. Shopping was one table of junk under a tent, no food,snorkling was getting to use dirty used equipment they had thrown in a basket. And stranded till they decided to come back for us.Never again will fall for this.

  6. Posted August 24, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your story. Exciting and scary at the same time. Your pictures are wonderful!

  7. Posted August 24, 2007 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    I will never forget that day, or the whole cruise. It was definitely a trip of a lifetime!

  8. Posted August 24, 2007 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    This is a FABULOUS story! thanks for sharing!!

  9. Posted August 27, 2007 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Wow! What an exciting journey and kind of frightening at the same time! Pictures are phenomenal though!

  10. Posted August 28, 2007 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    OMG what a hilarious story!!! TFS. That whale tail picture is gorgeous!

  11. Samantha (SammyStamper)
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I remember hearing this story when it first happened, it is still a great one. Loved your photo of the whale tail. Glad you made it safely back and have a lifetime of memories.

  12. Juanita
    Posted September 8, 2007 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    WHAT A GREAT STORY!!! AMAZING and I love it. The photos are fantastic, TFS.

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