Friends, Acquaintances & Chance Encounters

Every trip south I am rewarded with new friends. Seems that Baja just works that way. From casual conversations in the airport to more detailed ‘get-to-know-you’ ones on the actually plane ride, and the chance encounters .. Are there chance encounters?

This trip, a meeting with Johnny Friday, the proprietor of Baja Ecotours, with whom Laura McCants, Lynn Brown, Eloise Coopersmith, and I will journey with in February to San Ignacio Lagoon. We’ll spend three days visiting the migrating grey whales and their young calfs, paddling kayaks in the mangrooves, and getting to know each other better – along with new friends.

Johnny also runs a dive operation out of La Paz – with live-aboard boats. I’ve booked time with him for probably August .. Soccoro Island – whale sharks and manta rays are in my scopes.

The International Conference for Sea Turtle Conservation is held annually in Loreto. At a reception, held at the stunning home of Linda and Tony Kinninger, I was able to spend some time speaking with Wallace J. Nichols, who is with The Ocean Conservancy, and had spent the last year as President of the Turtle Foundation. We spoke a bit about the video script I’ve written .. and the filming of Bill Bahn .. as a conservation educational piece to gather support for Marine Reserve programs in northern California. A popular item with conservationsionists .. a tough sell to commercial fisherman.

Good friend and realtor, Alexander Ogilvie, had been out of town for the party, but he arrived two days later with one of his life long buddies, Gaston. Gaston is a restauranteur in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and was filled with wonderful stories of life in the north. He also cooks a mean risotto.

Not to be overlooked, the chance meeting of two great guys – Dennis Choate and his friend Donn Stein, who offered up a guest house in San Juanico – if I ever make it to the other side.

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