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Trip Report Cabo snorkeling with a Giant Whale Shark!!!!!

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Well, this Cabo trip started off with one of the best snorkeling days ever.

I had driven up from Cabo - an hour or so to the East Cape - and toured a few of the fishing resorts. I first stopped by to say hello to the very friendly John Ireland at Rancho Leonaro Resort (John frequently gives fishing reports on Lets Talk Hookup/AM 1090 - with hosts "Pelican" Pete Gray and "Rock Cod" Rick Maxa , ) - and also briefly walked around Rancho Buena Vista and Buena Vista resorts - and then drove into the fairly good size town of Los Barilles where there are a couple of Van Wormer resorts.

Hey - I would be happy to spend time at any one of them.

Then continued on and passed by Punta Colorado (which was closed for renovation) on the way down to Cabo Pulmo - and thus - arrived a little late to get ready for the scuba dive.

But also had a backup option - and was still in time for the snorkel trip - which with four stops - vs. two tank dives while diving - really turned out better.

There were seven of us - two ex-pat couples from Colorado now living in Los Barilles, two sisters and moi - and our Captain had been on sport fishing boats for 15 years out of Cabo - but was transitioning to snorkeling/dive boats from Cabo Pulmo as it was closer to his home. As you probably know - Cabo Pulmo has a big reef offshore and is a reserve (no fishing allowed) - where the University of California has a research station.

Our first stop was nice - with some good fish below - and I think it served as a sort of check-out for the
Captain who wanted to see that everybody was at ease in the water, which we were.

For the second stop - one of the guys from Los Barilles said he was going to stay on board to warm up a little (he was very trim/no body fat - but it was very temperate for this Polar Bear) while the rest of us tumbled over the side for some great snorkeling - including seeing Parrot fish reflect their colors with the sunlight piercing down to 10 feet or so.

On these boats - which are over 30 feet long - but only have a little ladder you climb up at the stern - which isn't the widest - and also since my rental boots were too big - I kept stepping on myself up the ladder.

Ergo - while heading back to board after this second stop - I kept up my pace so my momentum could help propel me up the three little steps.

As I was taking off my mask - and getting ready to toss it to the Captain - both guys were frantically pointing over the side. Well, as I looked down to unhitch a fin - just a few inches away - I saw the BIGGEST - WIDEST MOUTH I had ever seen up close and personal - at least FIVE FEET ACROSS - OPEN ABOUT A FOOT - AND TWO HUGE EYES LOOKING UP AT ME.

Hey - it could have swallowed any two of us without any problemo!!!

Now I have dove with 22 foot Mana Rays off the coast of Costa Rica - but hey dos - I was expecting that - not just looking down and suddenly seeing a mouth that could easily have just sucked you in!!!!!!

And while I had heard Whale Sharks are friendly - and not to be worried - this guy looked very curious - and maybe I had attracted his interest by paddling quickly back to the boat - and/or my flippers might have touched/kicked his nose, but in any event - I was trying furiously to get off the other fin while the guys in the boat were yelling - don't move so fast!!!!

Then the rational part of the brain kicked in saying - yes, you don't want to resemble a fish in trouble or some such - so I more calmly took off the fin and zipped up the ladder - only to look back at a 25 foot plus behemoth - casually swimming away toward the other snorkelers. (Note - these fish can get up to over 40 feet long).

We yelled to the others to swim in slowly and get on board - and they all did except one of the sisters - who had her head/ears below the water line still looking at the sights.
All of a sudden - just like out of the movie JAWS - there was a shark fin circling her and I thought - OMG - that's a shark closing in - and then remembered - Hey - it's a Whale shark - but it still looked very ominous.

It actually bumped her a bit - she called it a love tap - and she came back on board without incident - yet DANG: I will never forget looking down at that mouth - a mere inches below my feet.
Yes, they are peaceful, but if for some reason he had just out of curiosity clamped down on one of my feet/ankles/leg - it could have caused some damage - to say the least - and ruined the rest of the week.
More about fishing below this pic/info and even though this lovely underwater photographer was asking me to go back in and pose with the Whale Shark - I politely declined:

"The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish in the world; with its vast size it resembles the whales from which its common name is derived. The head is flattened and the wide mouth, positioned at the tip of the snout, stretches almost as wide as the body. The dorsal fin is particularly large and the tail has a half-moon shape. The patterning of the body is very distinctive with its dark greyish-blue colour on the back and sides, and array of pale yellow blotches; the undersurface is pale (5). Stout ridges travel the length of the body, ending at the tail shaft (6). Five massive gill slits occur on the side of the head and within these there is a sieve like structure of cartilage (5). Curiously, the mouth contains around 300 tiny teeth although the function of these is unknown (6). "
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The next two snorkeling stops were also great - the third with Sea Lions cruising by - four of them in formation like the Blue Angels - and with one little flip of their fins - they would just glide on about another 30 feet or so.

Note: While Sea Lions are also friendly - the do have fairly long and sharp teeth - so don't try to pet them.

The last stop was with two big schools of small sardines (aka bait balls) - one being inch and a half size and the other about 3to 4 inch size - and all of a sudden - the smaller size school parted like a huge cannon ball had been shot through it - and sure enough - cruising along the bottom - were some foot and a half size yellowtail - which of course, like to feast on these small critters.
Well, the rest of the week was great - and Cabo is such a beautiful, warm. sun splashed paradise - even though I had really forgotten about it since the first trip there about 15 years ago when my charter/boat caught a 300 lb Blue Marlin.

This time - despite the best efforts of my grade school buddy - John Enright and his cousin Dave - who routinely catch big fish - we dutifully went out three days in a row - but only caught some 20 to 25 pound - nice grade Dorado (Mahi). On the plus side - did bring home some 40+ pounds of fish - but alas - no Marlin or Big Tuna. (Did catch a small - 12 lb yellowfin - which yielded some Sashimi grade Ahi.
Will have a couple fishing pics later - but that's it for now.

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