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Scuba Diving In Los Cabos, Mexico November 28, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
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A couple of days after my first dive of the IANTD Advanced Nitrox Course, my wife and I took a holiday to Los Cabos, at the tip of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. The Peninsula divides the Sea of Cortez from the Pacific Ocean, and “Cabo” is a place where the cold currents mix with the warm water, which provides nutrients for the abundant sea life. It’s an old vacation spot, popular for Southern Californians around the time that pre-Castro Cuba was the tropical playground for East Coast Americans. The Peninsula is also the home for Baja 1000 road race, which I’d heard about for most of my life.

There were also some sad memories of the location. In the summer 1991, my parents, my two older brothers, and my oldest nephew travelled there to see the total eclipse of the Sun on July 11, at one of the best viewing locations. While I would have liked to have gone, the pressures of work were great and I decided not to go. A week before the trip, I was chatting to my dad and found it strange that he’d occasionally misuse a word, like he’d put the wrong word in a sentence and not notice. As he was one for having a few drinks, I really didn’t pay it any mind.

While they were away I got a call from my sister-in-law Sally saying that both my parents were very sick. They had to wait until their scheduled departure to head home because everything was booked solid. My dad lost both their tourist visas, and my brother had to bribe an official $20 US to let them get on the plane. Once they got home they were taken to the hospital where my father was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (a type of malignant brain tumour), and my mother with a serious lung condition. I forget her original diagnosis because it was wrong. It finally was called bronchiectasis, which is chronic, uncomfortable, but not fatal. He died on October 9th.

In his 3 months at the hospital, he would at various times make a certain amount of sense, although he never returned to complete lucidity. When my sister flew over from Australia to visit, the hospital staff gave him medication to temporarily shrink the tumour so he could sit up and chat, although without much of an idea of what he was talking about. As soon as she left, they took him off the meds and he was worse than ever. Meanwhile my mother had a lung operation to try and relieve her condition.

At one point my wife and I visited the hospital to see my dad in his room slowly dying and to see my mother connected to tubes and monitors in intensive care. My wife was so overwhelmed by the experience that as we were walking out of intensive care she fainted 3 times. A nurse helped her into a quiet room and went down to emergency to see a friend who was a physician and tell him my life was coming unglued. He was cheerfully signing some drunk drivers blood sample for a policeman, and his upbeat attitude helped a bit. He was talking to the cop about a Judge who had been murdered by a supposed male lover in a small town near Lake Erie, and it turned some of my friends knew the judge’s son, and I ended up meeting him as well a few years later. Small world.

So there I was almost exactly 15 years later in the same spot. My family had all stayed at the Hotel Finisterra in Cabo San Lucas, but that wasn’t available as a package deal so we ended up in San Jose Del Cabo at the Presidente Los Cabos. It was a really nice spot with the widest beach I’ve ever seen (and being from Australia, I’ve seen some wide beaches). The problem with the beach is that the strong currents are too dangerous for the beach to be open to swimmers. It was also the middle of summer, and it was really hot. The humidity was so low the cactus were dying, and the heat of the sun reminded me of the movies I’d seen where vultures circle overhead while someone is dying of thirst.

The only other problem with the hotel was that being in San Jose Del Cabo, for every dive I had to take a taxi to Cabo San Lucas, which took half an hour and 30 dollars. So it made the diving really expensive but the options I had to stay in Cabo San Lucas weren’t very good. I knew about the problem before I’d arrived as I’d made contact with the dive operator, Amigos Del Mar, before we left and they advised me to stay in Cabo San Lucas.

In view of the Turks & Caicos Islands trip the previous November, where I’d done 13 dives and a PADI Enriched Air Nitrox course in a single week, I made a pact with my wife to only dive on 3 days. Thanks to an American woman, Carol, who had her own place about 1/2 way between the two towns and convinced the dive operator to give us some variety, the 3 days of diving were in very different locations, so I saw a lot in those 3 days.



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