Monday 15 August 2011

A Whale of a trip.

I am often asked "What is the best prize you have ever won?" Well, I've been a successful comper for over 25 years and have won some wonderful prizes, so it's impossible to name a single favourite, but one of the most memorable came about 15 years ago, from a caption competition on Tetra fish food - a whale watching holiday to the San Ignacio Lagoon in Mexico. The prize was for two people but we paid to take one of   our teenage daughters  along too.

The weather was dreadful when we reached San Diego to board our boat, with the wind so strong the palm trees along the waterfront road were bent almost double. El Nino was  battering the coast, and when we stopped for a quick meal before boarding the ship, the cafĂ© owner reassured us by announcing "You must be mad - you'll all die!"

Our confidence wasn't boosted at all when we saw the boat that was going to be our home for the next week - to us  it looked more like something that would take day trips around the bay.

But we  went on to have a wonderful and very memorable trip. Here is a little report I wrote about it at the time:

Setting out from San Diego on a small boat in a storm wasn’t my idea of fun, but unlike most other passengers at least I didn’t have to resort to carrying a large plastic bag around……

After 24 hours we reached the calm of a group of islands and were glad to go ashore to visit colonies of  elephant seals (although the smell had a few people reaching for the bags again) then sailed on to the main focus of the trip – the San Ignacio Lagoon in Mexico where we spent several days touring the lagoon in small boats, watching the grey whales.

The whales were as curious as we were,  coming right up to the boats and up out of the water to look at us. Getting so close to these gentle giants was a sensational experience, especially when a  baby whale was brought by its mother to see us. The tiny looking baby was probably bigger than my car, which really put things into perspective for me.

But it wasn’t just about the whales – it was about the wonderful variety of wildlife at sea; dolphins, sunfish, pelicans,  albatross and playful seal pups. It was about the “green flash” at dawn and spending a week in cramped conditions with strangers who soon became friends. It was about storms and sunshine and being as different from my routine everyday life as it could possibly be.

 And one day it was about boiled broccoli for breakfast.


  1. I love that the little boat was called the Spirit of Adventure, sounds like it was exactly that! Wow! As if you got to see a baby whale, I am so very, very envious. I have to say, you sound like you have a cast iron stomach too, lol! A brilliant read, thanks for posting :O) x

  2. I love reading this post when I lose my comping mojo, it really captures all that's magical and special about the hobby, thank you. X

    1. Thanks - it was a wonderful experience and one I would probably never have thought of doing if it wasn't for comping. I take it that youhave lost your mojo at the moment if you have come back to read it again - I hope it soon comes back to you. There could always be something like this just around the next corner.


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