There are a lot of animals in the world and we aimed to see all of them. Of course we didn’t but, we seem to have had a lot of animal experiences over our travels. Here are just a few:
Our first week on the road was an amazing one. Waking up the first morning in Guerro Negro, Mexico, jumping on a boat, and having what is probably the most amazing experience possible with a wild animal was fantastic. The boat tour that we took brought us out into the harbor where the gray whales literally just swam right up to our boat to play with us and allow us to pet them. The newborn calf led his mother and when a second boat stole his attention his mom swam right up so we could continue rubbing her skin. These were wild animals and we never gave them any food. The next few days, further south in La Paz, we took a boat ride around Espiritu Santo where we were visited by (not so nice) pilot whales, a humpback whale, jumping rays and for a finale we snorkeled with some very friendly and playful sea lions.
Our trip to the Pantanal saw some practices that we find particularly upsetting. We went fishing for piranhas in the river, a perfectly OK activity and one we’d done just weeks earlier in the Bolivian Amazon, and then returned to the lodge with our catch. Upon our arrival we found the beach littered with caiman (the South American version of the alligator) who were just waiting to eat those fresh piranha…and they were fed, right there on that sandy beach. We consider it a bad practice whenever animals are given the opportunity to link humans with food, the reason we did not go diving with the great white sharks in South Africa. We were also annoyed when bait was tossed into the river for a hawk to come and catch…creating a nice, fake photo opportunity each time that hawk came down to eat.
The whales of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula were wonderful, many of the mammals we encountered in Africa were not quite so accommodating. After spending gobs of money to see the rare mountain gorillas of Uganda, we were more than a bit surprised when our welcoming by these animals was one of dominance by one of the group’s males. The gorilla charged us, actually knocking one of the guides to the ground; it was an authentic experience but more than a touch scary. Runner Up: Also in Africa, one elephant in Kruger National Park just didn’t want us get past him. This elephant just stood in the road, blocking our passing, and when we finally were able to make a run for it, he turned and reared his head….VERY unhappy at our having passed by. Jill wasn’t able to enjoy elephants again, which was problematic because we saw lots more.
This column of ishouldlogoff.com aims to answer those questions that we always get asked. What was your favorite this, or your worst that. Every week we aim to highlight a new topic and will do so until we run out of ideas. If you have an idea for a Good-Bad-Ugly post, feel free to tell us in the comment section below or send us an email. To read all of them, click here.