Archived Story

Vacation provides whale of a tale

Published 12:27pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013


In the Loop is on location. I write this as I overlook the blissful infinity pool at the Los Cabos Hilton Resort into the Pacific Ocean. The water shimmers as if a million diamonds lay upon its surface. The dry humidity of a desert climate prevents sweating, although it is 80 degrees and sunny.

A pod of whales just gave us a show that would put Sea World to shame. Crowds mill about on the beach, desperate for a sight of these magnificent creatures. I was unaware that Cabo was a popular mating spot for whales as they migrate south.

They are everywhere. As they leapt straight up out of the water, I was nearly convinced to quit this life and become either a full time pirate, a mini Hemingway or both. I am certainly watching Free Willy next week. Cue the Michael Jackson music.

If it makes you feel better, I worked on this column for nearly two hours by the pool before accidentally deleting it. I am still struggling with a spanish keyboard as I type this.

I could scribe a column entirely on how to navigate a Mexican Wal Mart, but instead I shall tell a tale of a whimsical day at sea in which we chased down the elusive and undisputed king of sports fishing: the blue marlin.

John turned 28 on this trip, and his gift from his family was a day of deep sea fishing. Luckily, I too benefit from this gift.

We departed in our 28-foot sport fisher as the sun was rising. The pink and purple skyline was awe-inspiring as we rounded the infamous rock arches at the base of the Baja peninsula, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean.

We were entertained by National Geographic style whale watching for two hours until our first line took a hit.

John was in the hot seat.

He positioned himself in the back chair of the boat and settled in for a solid 25-minute competition with a faceless foe – until the blue marlin crested the water, proud bill high in the air and skin glistening in the most beautiful array of cobalt and turquoise that you have ever seen. It took my breath away.

We whooped and hollered in the fashion that any self-respecting Alabamian would.

I dangled from the port side with a video camera in one hand and my Nikon in the other.

Every moment of John’s big catch is documented.

We estimated the marlin to be 175 pounds and 7 feet long. It is unreal that they get up to 1,300 pounds, easy.

Catch and release. And guess what…

I caught one too.

It was nearly identical to John’s fish, and my arms are killing me today. I reeled relentlessly, and when they pulled my marlin up for a picture, I squirmed and squealed and did not want to touch it.

Catch and release.

Typical girl behavior, I know – guilty as charged.

John says not many ladies can boast a marlin on the second sea fishing venture. The big secret here is that I love it. I love being on a boat with the wind in my hair, and I love the exhilaration that sport fishing brings.

We would have several hits and misses before I would reel in a 40-pound wahoo.  He, too, shimmered in all the gorgeous blues of the sea.

Again, I screamed when its blood splattered my legs. Whatever – I had on a Columbian fishing shirt that made me tougher than I seemed. Thanks, Dad.

We brought the wahoo back to our hotel where, for a modest fee, they grilled him into tacos and sushi rolls. The remainder is still on ice and available for our use.

Sun weary, we wrapped up the day and headed back toward the marina, where we were followed by a wide array of pelicans and seagulls hoping for a bite of leftover bait.

We turned our backs briefly, only to be surprised by a friendly 500-pound sea lion who had happily bellied up on the back of our boat, politely asking for a snack. Imagine our surprise!

He was single-handedly the most adorable creature I have ever seen. I wanted to snuggle him to pieces.

We gave him all the bait we had and posed with him in the best pictures you have ever seen. When in Cabo!

As we dined on our fresh wahoo late Wednesday and took in the sunset, I felt grateful for the opportunity to experience Cabo in January. The whales alone make it worthwhile.

Howell works as an advertising representative for Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., in addition to writing this column. Contact Howell at to keep her In the Loop of events.

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