Activity: Whale Shark Snorkelling, La Paz, Mexico

This post is one chapter on our trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Alaska Airlines. This trip was booked and credited to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan using a two for one Companion Fare courtesy of the Alaska Airlines credit card. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: Whale Shark Snorkelling, La Paz, Mexico

Like every household, there are certain rules you come to understand about your partner. In our household, after making decisions all day at work, MrsWT73 doesn’t like to make any major decisions (including dinner decisions) between 4 – 8 PM. I have come to navigate around the dinner issues but usually save the major travel decisions until the weekend if it can be at all avoided. After reading a travel article from the Vancouver Sun newspaper about whale shark diving in Mexico, much to my surprise after a spring skiing weekend in Whistler with just WT73jr and myself, having driven down from a 2 hour drive from Whistler to Surrey, it was announced by MrsWT73 and I were going to go snorkeling with the whale sharks and we needed to book “now”.

Travelling and Getting to La Paz:

Our tour with Cabo Adventures collected us from the JW Marriott at 6:35 AM. Our minibus was already full of about 10 other passengers. We transferred into Cabo San Lucas which took the better part of 45 minutes. The harbor was all quiet on arrival this morning; a nice respite from the usual frenetic party pace of the harbor.

After we were checked in at their headquarters right on the harbor of Cabos San Lucas after about a 10 minute wait, we were loaded into a proper motor coach to head for a 90 minute drive north to La Paz. We were provided an early breakfast sandwich and juice box which was a pleasant surprise as we were too early to make the hotel breakfast.

The drive was quite scenic as it rolled into the desert. We had an order of business briefing and a safety briefing from the guides who were with us the whole way up from Cabo. After about 20 minutes of instructions, we were left to relax the rest of the way. I was able to nap a little bit from the early morning departure.

On arrival into La Paz, we arrived to the Cabo Adventures headquarters. We got fitted for a wetsuit and headed for the short walk over to the marina.

We were separated up into boats and got ready for the day ahead. This meant getting through the red tape of Mexican bureaucracy. We were fitted with government grey wristbands and had to queue to get into the waterpark.

A brief snapshot of where sharks can be found, in season…

We idled in boats as there were only 10 persons allowed per boat, and only a set number of boats to be allowed in the park. When we arrived at about 11 AM, we were number 8 in the queue. The whole affair was policed by officials in boats which actually paid us a visit, and an enforcement drone which we never saw but was reported to be around with our guides.

What it’s like to snorkel with Whale Sharks:

After about 30 minutes wait bobbing up and down, it was finally our turn to head in and enter the park. Per local authorities, our permit limited us to 2 hrs float time inside the park. After the entry, our guides were then tasked with locating a whale shark for us. It took a little time, probably about 15 minutes. Although not guaranteed, the guide did indicate that they had a 100% success rate this season. We had two relays of 5 persons each with our sole guide being in the water for each interaction.

When we got up close, it was pretty amazing to see these creatures up close and personal. They were absolutely massive!! Even I was hesitant about getting in front of them. However, they just seemed to take it all in stride. I was surprised to see that they did not shy away from our human visitors. Pictures from the GoPro…

We had about 3 jumps of about 5 minutes each. It was quite tiring swimming with them; it took about 80% effort of a front crawl for about 5-7 minutes at a time. We would rest then the second relay would take over.

After we timed out of our two hour slot, we ended up heading back towards the La Paz Marina.

A great photo of a day of accomplishments.

We were the last boat out of the three for our tour group to return to the harbour. At about 2:30 PM, we changed out of the wetsuits. There were showers available but I didn’t bother since it appeared many were waiting for us. We hopped back on the bus and headed to a local Italian restaurant for lunch as a group. Tacos were served; they weren’t of the Italian variety.

After the caloric burning of our day, we climbed aboard the bus back to Cabo San Lucas. It was another 90 minutes or so until we were back at the Cabo Adventures Headquarters on the harbor, then another 45 minutes until we were dropped off at the hotel at about 7 PM.

Whale Shark Snorkling Summarized:

In summary, the Whale Shark Snorkeling day trip through Cabo Adventures was a great experience and a memorable opportunity. I’m not usually one for group tours but the staff at Cabo Adventures treated us well. It also didn’t feel too much like a larger group experience as we were split into smaller groups for the entire day.

We returned to the hotel and enjoyed sundowner drinks on the wrap around deck of the large Umey Suite. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of spectacular sunsets on the East Coast of Cabo, since most of the sun dips over on the west side.

All in all a great day and we were happy to take in the attractions of the Whale Sharks. The photos don’t do it as much justice as the large creatures actually are. It’s something that I’ll certainly remember for some time to come.

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