I swam with whale sharks.
Carl and I drove from Todos Santos to La Paz where we took a boat with five other people into this beautiful lagoon. Our guide jumped in the water and signaled for us, so that's what we did. we jumped in the water and swam alongside whale sharks. It was an amazing experience -- these enormous creatures of the sea are not aggressive, and we swam alongside them (no touching) and just - well -- communed. I can't explain how it felt other than thrilling. Free. A little later, dolphins gathered around our boat, so we jumped in and swam with them, too!
It was sort of a religious experience overall, even for the non-religious.
On the way back to the harbor, a young humpback whale joined the dolphins and literally frolicked in the water right in front of us. He didn't completely breach, but he did slap the water and roll around and around. We did not join him in the water but rather watched in delight. Carl took some amazing photos, but you'll have to follow him on Instagram to check those out as he puts them up. His instagram is @mo_better_birds and @cbjphoto.com
The night before we headed back to southern California, Carl and I walked down the beach (never a soul on it but us!) from where we were staying to see whether the turtle eggs had hatched and would be released. Because we are just about the luckiest couple on the planet, they were, so we got to join in the most magical sort of ceremony. The Olive Ridley turtles (Golfina in Spanish) were protected under this tent on a remote stretch of sand about a half mile or so from where we were staying. The tent served as a sort of incubator and protection from predators, after the females lay their eggs and went back to the ocean. When the turtle eggs hatch, the volunteers release the little guys into the ocean. About thirty people gathered to watch about twelve of the tiniest little creatures you've ever seen make a break for the Pacific, a slow crawl through the sand and into the water. I have experienced this once before in South Carolina when many more turtles made their way to the ocean from nests along the dunes, and that was fantastic, but there was something magical and profound about seeing them walk into the pounding surf of Mexico. A turtle would reach the water and disappear as the tide pulled him out, but more often the huge waves would crash into the beach and fling the turtle back. She'd right herself and start the journey again. We stood in a line and watched them in the orange light until they were all gone. No one spoke. We all knew that once they made it to the ocean, their chances of survival are slim. The whole thing is both terrible and awe-inspiring.
On re-entry, though, I feel more like those turtles, plodding by instinct toward the implacable sea and ferocious waves with only the most infinitesimal chance to make it at all.