Trip to San Carlos, Sonora State, Mexico

My current internship began May 23rd, but It began with PTO (Personal Time Off) for my expected period, so I took some to have a five-day Memorial Day weekend in San Carlos, Mexico. My friend and I had planned it months before I came to Tucson. We loaded his truck and 16.5-foot boat with everything we could and set off for the border at 5:30 am. Around 8, we exchanged money on the US side then crossed over.

The drive was on much better roads than I had expected, but there were very few shoulders along the way. We passed a road crew assaulting a section with a pick axe, picked up a hitchhiker and let him sit in the truck bed, saw a fatal traffic accident with the dead body covered with a blanket, and were accosted by squeegee boys in Hermasillo. Some towns looked quite decent, while others were bleak. I heard how the Federal police patrol the highway during the day and conceal their faces to avoid being identified and killed; at night, the gangs control the road.

Arrival in San Carlos was uneventful until we started to make a wrong turn. The police car behind us honked but my friend the driver kept going anyway, whereupon the police pulled us over. They said we were going downtown, but 200 pesos solved that problem. My friend did make a mistake, so it was not a simple shakedown. We then launched the boat in the marina without incident.

Over the next couple of days, we made five dives and cruised up and down the coastline. While he spent every night sleeping on his boat, I slept on the back of a larger boat owned by one of his friends. In the course of my dives, I saw a sea lion swim about us, watching; many small beige rays and one large manta ray that had not tried to cover itself in sand; countless spires of kelp around 8'–10' tall; a lamprey eel in its recess and another large leopard-like eel; many starfish and various sea fans and other things. Perhaps the most amazing encounter was with two breaching orcas that later followed our boat, one approaching so class to the small boat's rear ladder that it seemed as if it wanted to come aboard; it rolled onto its side so we could see it eyeballing us, after which it slipped beneath the waves and disappeared.

It was a very good time, and I look forward to returning once more.