#TBT: Panama Canal Cruise, April 2013 – Part 4

I wrote this post on 4/11/15.  It will publish automatically on 4/16/15 at 6am and is part of my #TBT [Throw Back Thursday] series.

Part 1 covered life aboard the cruise ship & our first stop in Cartagena, Colombia.

Part 2 covered our stop in Colon, Panama & our crossing of the Panama Canal.

Part 3 covered our stops in Puntarenas, Costa Rica & Puerto Quetzal, Guatamalla.

This post, Part 4, will cover our two stops in Mexico:  Puerto Vallarta & Cabo San Lucas.

After leaving Guatamalla we spent TWO days at sea before reaching Puerto Vallarta, Mexico:

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I couldn’t remember what we did, so I asked Jim what he remembered from this stop.  He said “pacing the top deck of the ship looking for a WiFi signal and getting sun burnt” [heh]:

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Once we consulted our photos, we remembered we’d taken a ship-sponsored excursion to a Mexican resort for snorkeling and local cuisine.  I was afraid to take my good camera – I was scared it would get wet or stolen, so the following pics are ones we took with Jim’s waterproof camera.  Here’s me looking thrilled on the boat:

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And some shots from the boat ride:

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Approaching the resort:

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Jim and I found the resort very flashy and fake.  The staff were dressed in native clothes and did dances and performances for us [which made us both uncomfortable] while other staff blew whistles every 10 minutes triggering 3 Scarlet Macaws to fly in formation around the resort and back to their perch.  Everything was planned and picture-perfect.  Too perfect.  It wasn’t our thing [nothing about the place felt authentic], but it was still a neat experience, and a beautiful location and day.  Unfortunately Jim’s camera died once we got in the water for snorkeling – he got one shot [including his hand] and then it filled with water – d’oh!  At least the memory card stayed dry:

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Once we were back on board the ship we watched as men prepared us for take off [or whatever you call it]:

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We sailed all night and woke up the next morning in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  What a gorgeous harbor to wake up in!  This was the only stop where the ship was “tendered” instead of docked.  That meant it was anchored offshore and everyone that wanted to go ashore had to be ferried there in little boats.  I think they were actually the lifeboats, now that I think about it.  They had roofs on them and held about 50 people.  All along the left side of the harbor are the rock formations known as El Arco or the Arch of Cabo San Lucas [also called Lands End].  Cabo San Lucas and the arch are located at the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula:

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As we were eating breakfast on the ship someone noticed a humpback whale playing in the harbor.  Soon everyone was out on deck watching:

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Jim and I had signed up for a ship-sponsored snorkeling excursion, which included a boat ride around Lands End.  Can you see the herd of sea lions piled on the rocks in the first picture?  They kind of blend with the shadows [click the picture to make it larger]:

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That’s our ship in the 2nd picture – it’s so big!

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After the tour of Lands End we headed up the coast for an hour of open-water snorkeling.  I was really nervous because I’m sooooooooooooooooooooo scared of deep water, and this snorkeling would be from the boat instead of a beach.  We’d be about 400 feet from shore, in about 40 feet of water.  We all had to wear wet suits, and they offered us life jackets to use as flotation devices, but I decided to be brave and go without.  It ended up being really fun, but I was extremely anxious/scared throughout our time in the water.  I had to keep practicing deep breathing exercises to calm down, and reminding myself that 9 times out of 10 there are no giant sea monsters swimming below you… *shudder*.  Since then, I have deep-water snorkeled two more times, in Hawaii.  Even though I’m still scared of deep water, I am less terrified of it.  Slightly.

On the way back to Cabo San Lucas we all enjoyed the sea lions and pelicans begging for fish from a charter boat pulling into the harbor:

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After another day at sea, we woke up in San Diego, CA, and it was time to leave the ship and fly home.  I will leave you with some family pictures taken aboard the ship:

Jim & I, John & Tomoko:

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The Fergusons:

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The Ferguson men [John, Dad #2, Jim]:

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Dad #2 & his wife Susie:

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First pic = Sedona, Susie [back], John & Keanu; second pic = Sedona & grampa:

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8 Comments

  1. Jessica @CapeofDreams

    I am not a big fan of resort fake ness either. Glad you enjoyed the rest of the trip. Too bad about the underwater camera. I am debating purchasing one for our trip to Costa Rica, but I keep reading that they don’t last long. How long did Jim have his?

    • Hi Jessica! Jim said the one he had that broke on the cruise he’d had for a long time – at least 3 years. The one we took to Hawaii last year was awesome – I think he got it for about $100 on Amazon. It’s a Nikon Coolpix S31. I’d highly recommend it!

  2. I like that shot of the sea lions–they are in the shade but the background is in the sun. Interesting effect! Also the color of the water–wow! Great trip!

    • Ya, the water there was amazing! But very deadly. People die every year because the currents and undertow are so unpredictable and lethal around the Lands End rock formations.

  3. Wonderful blog. All four parts were great and fun to read. You probably saw more different species of birds that I will see in my lifetime. Nice picture of the juvenile Brown Boobies. They winter on the Pacific side and summer in the Caribbean. Luv, Dad

    • Thanks for identifying the birds, Dad! juvenile Brown Boobies. I’m sure we saw a bazillian birds that we wouldn’t have recognized for what they were. I’m just glad i got to see a wild Toucan!

  4. Great pictures and descriptions of the last segment of your trip.
    Loved the family pictures at the end – John and Tomoko’s children are beautiful!

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