My trip to Clipperton Island began early in the morning on April 9, 2010. I made the hour drive to a Ross O's house to leave my car and grab a taxi for the remaining 10 minute trip to the airport. (Thanks Ross for providing car storage for two weeks! It saved me a ton in parking fees).
The cab ride was quick and check in at American Airlines was easy. Carefully packing two 49 3/4 pound bags of checked luggage avoided "excess baggage" charges. I'm not sure how I stayed under the weight limits, but, I did it.
At the next stop, the TSA carry on inspection area, there was a small glitch. The man in front of me left his items in the TSA x-ray machine and took off running across the terminal. Everything was rapidly closed down for about a half an hour while they captured the man and inspected his possessions. The lesson I learned was never take your shoes off and send them down the conveyer belt until the last possible minute. Mine were in the X-ray machine with the "suspects" when everything came to a blazing halt. My feet were freezing during the terminal closure.
When the terminal reopened, I recovered my shoes, and received the usual "TSA vs Underwater Photography Equipment" shake down - something about carry on camera equipment and strobe batteries - evokes an automatic physical inspection almost every time. Once past airport security it was a pleasant trip to Cabo San Lucas.
Arrival in Cabo San Lucas also went smoothly. At Cabo, all luggage is x-rayed during the entry customs inspection. On my last trip to Clipperton in 2007, the Mexican customs officials insisted on X-Raying my 50 rolls of $10 per roll film in the strong X-ray machine. They also gave me a huge plate of grief over bringing 4 cameras through the country. This trip I only had two digital cameras, one laptop, one IPad, one IPhone, two airline regulation sized carry ons, and two 49 3/4 lb checked bags. They wanted to know why I had so much stuff but other than that let me through without a hassle.
I found the mass transit vans for the Cabo San Lucas hotels out in front of the air terminal and settled in for the 45 minute ride to the Hotel Finisterra. Check in at the hotel was quick and easy - no crowd.
My room was in the "old section" of the hotel. Built into the cliff with a great view of downtown Cabo San Lucas, the marina, and the Cabo Dolphin Center. It didn't take long for me to find the Nautilus Explorer docked in the Marina through my telephoto lens. The "new" section of the hotel features oceanfront rooms with oceanfront views. I think I liked this "old" Cabo view side better!
Other friends on the trip were also staying at the hotel and I would meet up with them later. First on my agenda was some quality crash time at the beachfront pool.
Pool at the Hotel Finisterra
In the evening, others began to arrive. Dinner was a very special Mexican cuisine experience at the Maria Corona Restaurant. (prices on the menu are in Pesos). Mum mum good!! Many thanks to our terrific dinner host, Bruce Omholt, part time Cabo resident and maker of the Nautilus CCR. Thank you Bruce!! My mouth still waters over that Mexican food....
Me at Dinner |
Jeff and Bruce
My next priority was an early bedtime. Transportation to the Nautilus Explorer would arrive early in the morning.