When we boarded the boat and noted the boat operator had the cover off the outboard motor, we should have expected adventure. In fact, Jim commented that it wasn’t a good sign. A fisherman with some experience with motor problems, it was an omen to him.
Instead of taking the cruise line’s excursion to Land’s End for 1 hour at a cost of $29 per person, we hired one of the water taxis on the dock for $20 each when we got off our tender at Cabo. We were joined by our friends, Lori and Rick, and a mother and her adult daughter from our cruise ship. (We later found out the mother and daughter negotiated a $15 rate.) This is billed as a glass bottom boat tour but that’s a bit of a stretch. The boat would seat 12 persons at most and the glass bottom is a glass insert on the floor of the boat providing a murky view at best. We donned well-worn, somewhat grungy life vests and away we went.
Located at the end of the Baja Peninsula where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, the rock formations found off the coast of Mexico at Cabo San Lucas are collectively called Land’s End. It’s a short boat ride and the photo opportunities were excellent. The boat operator kept up a steady description of the area although some of his English was difficult to understand over the competing motor noise. We saw the iconic landmark, El Arco (The Arch); caves in the rocks, and Lover’s Beach in the bay while hearing that Divorce Beach is located through the rocks on the Pacific side. We even spied Pedro, the sea lion of youtube fame who was captured on film stealing a fish.
As we reached the other side of the outcropping, where the bay meets the Pacific Ocean, the engine died. The water was considerably rougher out in the open ocean and the operator pulled the the cord repeatedly to start the engine as the bigger waves bounced us farther away from the coast. The motor fired then died, fired, then died again, about five or six times.
This is when the adult daughter began to hyperventilate, indicating a panic attack. I sort of expected it. When I saw her put on orange rubber gloves earlier in the trip, I thought she might have some issues. Her mother tried to comfort her and the others of us weren’t sure whether we should ignore the situation to give her privacy or add our two cents worth. I finally said, “With all these boats out here any one of them can tow us in.” Sure enough, the operator used his cell phone, called someone, and another boat approached. Of course, about that time, the engine fired and finally stayed running so a tow was no longer needed.
All’s well that ends well, but it was, nevertheless, an adventure worth recording. The juxtaposition of feeling very vulnerable on a small boat compared to the security we felt on our huge cruise ship merits contemplation. Then when I compared these experiences with the events I was currently reading in the book, Unbroken, in which three airmen from a B24 crashed into the Pacific during WW2, surviving for 47 days in a 2 man rubber raft with no food or water while surrounded by sharks, it gave me additional pause for thought. Like, thank goodness for cell phones.