Friday 2nd February

Shortly after sunrise at 07:30 a.m. we were offshore from the Mexican port of Puerto Vallarta and the mouth of the Sea of Cortez which is separated from the Pacific Ocean by the long peninsular of Baja California. The sea is the mouth of the Colorado River that has carved its way across the southwest of the USA through for example the Grand Canyon. There were occasions in the recent past when the river water never reached this sea because of the intensive use of its water in Arizona for agricultural irrigation.


This is the northern end of the Mexican Riviera close to which we have been for two days. Centuries before the Spanish arrived the tropical forested lowlands and the more temperate highlands supported ancient but advanced civilisations such as the Aztecs. At the time of the Spanish conquest around the 1520s this coastline was farmed and fished through important ports such as Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. These waters were used by very strong ships known as Manila Galleons. They could resist cannonballs but the superstructure was vulnerable to fire. These ships dropped anchor in this region and transferred silver, silk, precious metals and porcelain to land and to ships that used the northeast trade winds to sail to the Philippines.
Pirates used to lay in wait for the heavily loaded ships. One pirate, the Englishman Thomas Cavendish, was renowned for taking over the galleons and plundering their cargo.


At lunchtime we crossed the Tropic of Cancer which meant that we would soon be within the subtropical desert biome. The southern end of Baja California is called Cabo San Lucas where erosion has created arches and rock pillars with close by steep granite cliffs. All of Baja California is about 18 miles from the starboard side of the ship.

As it was a formal evening meal tonight in our dining area we ate in the Horizon Restaurant  above the Bridge. The Bridge informed us this morning that they had sighted whales and again later in the day but we did not see them. However, during our meal tonight we saw many dolphins at the front of the ship. unfortunately we didn’t have our cameras with us.

We are continuing northwestwards with some 750 miles to go to Los Angeles.

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