"" Writer's Wanderings: Whale Watching - The Chase is On in Puerto Vallarta

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whale Watching - The Chase is On in Puerto Vallarta

Observing Puerto Vallarta from Deck 10 of the Celebrity Constellation the city appeared to be much nicer than Acapulco, our previous port. It was however a mass of boat and ship traffic as we discovered when we were tendered in. We had booked a whale watching excursion (I'm a sucker for those big critters of the sea) and our group left the ship early in the morning to join up with the boat that would take us out to observe what we could of the humpbacks in the area.

Once assembled on shore, a guide took us to a smaller dock where we boarded a small boat to take us to the sailboat that would take us to the whales. Sound complicated? It was in a way. You see there were two large cruise ships already docked, a third that was pulling into it's slip and tenders in the water from two other ships, including ours, who were ferrying passengers to shore.

Our little boatful made it to the sailboat but then we had to wait while the HAL ship positioned itself in its slip before the harbor control would allow the other members of our excursion to come out on the other little boat. We did not lack entertainment however. The crew on the sailboat was delightful and we enjoyed coffee, juice and rolls while we waited. Obviously they'd had this problem before.

Once everyone was on the sailboat, we took off to the area where the whales are spotted most. And so did every other whale watching boat in the harbor. The government licenses whale watching boats and they must fly a flag and follow some rules in their endeavors to catch sight of the humpbacks. However, not all boats out looking for whales were licensed and they certainly did not follow any rules. The whales were outnumbered.

We did spot several whales and watched as they dove for cover again when all the boats scurried to where the spout of water was sighted. One of our guides suggested we all shout and point in the same direction and watch all the boats chase each other to where we pointed.

One of the more amazing attractions that morning was the small manta rays. The harbor was full of them. They would jump out of the water and for an instant look like a bird with a large wingspan. We have been diving with giant manta rays. I didn't know there was a smaller version.

While it wasn't like observing whales in Hawaii, it was a fun time. And the guacomole, salsa, and chips were out-of-this-world good on the way back to the dock.

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