Ty and I weren’t the only ones on the Punta Mita Expedition’s panga. There was also Carlos, the captain, who had an uncanny sense of knowing where the big boys would be coming up to breech well before we even knew there were any whales around. And there was a family from Michigan, staying at the nearby Four Seasons Resort, that nearly drove me crazy. Actually, the two little girls—Jackie and Natalie—were fine. And Nancy, the mom was very cool as well. It was Dad I wanted to toss from the panga (and I don’t think I was the only one).
Okay, he said he was from Michigan but I’d be willing to bet a case of Coronas that he was originally from New Jersey. Just the accent alone screamed Jersey. And I heard a lot of it because the guy would not stop talking. I could probably tell you his whole life history if I hadn’t stopped listening shortly after Carlos lifted anchor and gunned the boat towards the Marieta Islands. And then he started asking me a million questions—where was I from, what did I do, where was I staying.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. What really drove me crazy is the way he kept yelling at his two girls. “Jackie…JACK-ie. Ovah heah. You’re missin’ it…one just jumped. Jackie, you’re missin’ it.”
Non-stop. As if it were even possible to miss seeing a 50-foot whale launch itself out of the water maybe 20 feet in front of you.
At one point we got into the middle of a giant school of acrobatic pantropical spotted dolphins. I mean like hundreds of them. There were dozens running in front of the panga. There were hundreds on either side of us. It was a friggin’ river of dolphins. They’d leap way out of the water. They’d do flips. I mean it was a circus show out in the Bay of Banderas.
There was nowhere to look where you wouldn’t see a dolphin, even if you tried. Yet here was Jersey Dad screaming, “Natalie…NAT-a-lie. Ovah heah! A dolphin just jumped. You’re missin’ it, Nat. Look! Look ovah heah!”
The guy was crazy. But Natalie and Jackie, who were like 7 and 8 years old, were very cool about things. They just totally ignored their dad. Like they never even heard him. Which, believe me, was impossible.
Finally, I think everyone—the humpbacks, the dolphins, even the frigate birds—got sick of Dad because they all cleared out. Leaving us with nothing but a calm sea. At which point Jersey Dad took a nap and Carlos headed us back towards Punta Mita.
And I swear, I have no idea how the rope to the anchor got twisted around Jersey Dad’s leg. I guess it’s just lucky one of the girls spotted it before Carlos threw it over. But don’t you think it’s odd his wife didn’t notice it? Especially since she was sitting right next to him on the panga?