Cabo San Lucas . . . January 8, 2019
If you haven’t been to Cabo, we do recommend you visit. We first ventured here in 1979. Holy cow . . . that was forty years ago! At that time it was primarily a primo destination for some of the top gamefish in the world. Population was less than 16,000. It is now a bustling metropolis complete with a Costco.
The secret of it’s beauty got out and over time it has grown to 81,100. The airport is in nearby San Jose del Cabo. Time shares abound and seem to be filled with tourists year round. An easy two hour and fifteen minute flight from San Diego, it’s become a very popular destination.
As the ship set anchor, we observed whales cavorting where the Pacific Ocean meets the Gulf of Baja.
The harbor is safely tucked in and now filled with fishing boats and yachts. The once quiet shore is lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and condos. As you walk along the malécon (oceanfront boardwalk), or lounge on the playa (beach) you can save a trip to the shops and buy from the entrepreneurs who frequent the area with everything from silver bangles, to t shirts, paraeos (sarongs), watches, etc. You can pose, for a fee, with a large iguana, or book a time share presentation.
Many people book water excursions that take you around the famous El Arco (Land’s End Arch) and offer snorkeling opportunities. Others book five hour fishing excursions hoping to land a sailfish or marlin for the record books. Some go horseback riding, or take an excursion to nearby Todos Santos, on the Pacific coast.
The bay stays busy with the various tour and pongas (fishing boats), paddleboards, kayaks, and the incessant “wah wah wah” of the jet skis.
For the landlubbers drinking establishments abound. You can visit the famous Giggling Marlin and if you’ve had enough to drink you might pose with the marlin. Please remember you are in a foreign country. And, it’s important to bring your brain and common sense with you.
We’ve been to Cabo more times than I can count, both by land and sea. So, we opted to stay on board. Since this is a trip to recharge our batteries, it’s also an opportunity to begin a new schedule. We’ve been a bit lazy for the past year and with more travel on the horizon it’s time to attempt to get in shape.
After coffee, fruit, and a very small bowl of muesli to start our engines, we headed to the uncrowded gym. A complete array of professional equipment is available. The treadmills face an expanse of windows toward the bow and it’s fun to observe the activity on the water while walking, or if you’re really fit, running.
This is a “tender” port. Since there is no cruise ship dock, we anchor in the harbor, and people are loaded onto smaller boats (tenders) to transfer to the port. Passengers who have shore excursions booked through the cruise line or are four or five star Mariners have priority privileges. Those who book their own tours or are just going sightseeing on their own have to wait until the announcement that all can disembark . . . which, in this case was nearly an hour and half.
On port days there are not as many scheduled activities on board, but there is still plenty to do. We enjoyed the less crowded buffet for lunch and then had leisure time to read in what used to be the library. There are still a few books available; most are about locations you can cruise to on HAL. There are a couple of larger, interactive, displays that show the route, and have maps with suggested sights to see.
HAL (Holland America Line) has undergone changes in the last couple of years. One of my least favorite changes is doing away with the libraries. We’ve spent many an hour appreciating the quiet space, checking out books and cribbage games, picking up the daily trivia questionnaire, and reading magazines. On longer cruises, with more sea days, I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the book club which was facilitated by the librarian. Reading books, set in the area where we were sailing, made them much more captivating. The lively discussions were enlightening.
On our world cruise, Paul Theroux, author of “The Mosquito Coast,” and several other fiction and non-fiction books was onboard for a portion of our trip. Everyone was given one of his books, “The Happy Isles of Oceania.“ Our book club chose to read it and he even attended one of our meetings to provide further insight and cordially answer questions.
Having learned from our wine steward, Michael, where Joanna was working, we made our way to the casino after dinner. I spotted her and came up from behind. She turned and exclaimed, “Mam Jacquie! Sir Larry!” and promptly hugged us both.
We met almost four years ago on a two week Alaska cruise when she was working in the Crow’s Nest. She was such a delight that we (I) enjoyed staying in touch with her over the years. I’d seen that she was on the Eurodam, via Facebook. It was a joyous reunion and we loved catching up.
We enjoyed watching the city transition to evening, as the sun set, just before we sailed out of the harbor to our next port.