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Tortoise Wing Green Tortoise Crawler Chronicle Tortoise Wing Winter 2008   

Join us Whale Watching in Baja!

by Lyle Kent, Baja enthusiast and owner of the Green Tortoise

Whale Watching in Baja Mexico

I'll never forget the day pictured in this photograph. Petting a whale, watching a mother nudge her newborn calf to greet us in the boat, seeing a full grown male breach clear out of the water, and smelling the fishy breath of a curious adolescent nudging our dory...it was unbelievable!

The California Gray Whale population is thriving, with more then 20,000 of the Pacific population making what is considered the longest annual migration of any mammal (our drivers don't count). From the chilly seas of Alaska to the warm waters of three calving lagoons in Baja, these gentle giants (some reach over 50 feet) travel over 12,000 miles each year. Although this unique genus is the longest living mammal on earth dating back 30 million years they have somehow forgotten or forgiven the whaling days of the 1800's.

Sign up by February 15 for either our March or April Baja trips and get $50 off the trip fare! Be sure to mention you saw this offer in our newsletter. This offer is valid on new bookings only and is not combinable with any other offer. You must book directly with Green Tortoise to get this discount.

Our trip is timed to coincide with the height of the whale watching season. Most of the pregnant females have given birth to their 12 foot babies, while the single females are still considering the amorous males and their acrobatic courting rituals. I have been visiting the Baja Peninsula for over 20 years and am still surprised by all that it has to offer! Our beach camp remains a favorite for GT regulars (yes, it is still in operation) and snorkeling the protected reef at Cabo Pulmo is always a hit. Make some waves and start your own migration. Hope to see you on any of our upcoming Baja trips...they all go whale watching at least once.

Join us on our upcoming Whale Watching Special February 22 - March 8, 2008! Haven't got 15 days? Check out our nine-day trips March 21 - March 30 or April 4 - April 13.

You cannot improve perfection. It was an amazing culinary adventure as well!
- Armelle, Christmas Baja 2007

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New Destinations!

Joshua Tree - Western Roadrunner - Green Tortoise

In our last issue we mentioned the idea of a new trip to Pinnacles. With the publication of our 2008 catalog, we are pleased to introduce our Western Roadrunner, which not only explores Pinnacles National Monument, but also the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks. We are also excited to reintroduce a new and improved version of our Pacific Trek.

The Green Tortoise has always been one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly ways to take a road trip -- our sleeper coach gets over 200 passenger miles per gallon and take 16 passenger cars off the road for every trip.

Check out one of these new trips, or for more in depth adventures through Death Valley or the Grand Canyon, check out some of our other great trip offerings.
- Western Roadrunner
Mar. 16 - Mar. 22
Apr. 13 - Apr. 19
May 4 - May 10
- Pacific Trek
Jul. 11 - Jul. 18
Aug. 15 - Aug. 22
- Death Valley
Feb. 15 - Feb. 19
Mar. 14 - Mar. 18
Mar. 28 - Apr. 1
- Canyons of the West
Apr. 18 - Apr. 27
May 16 - May 25

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Sammy's Choice: Tultepec Fireworks Festival

Tultepec Fireworks Festival - Green Tortoise
After your visit to the fireworks festival hook up with one of our fantastic Green Tortoise trips through the Yucatan!
- Tropical Trek
Mar. 16 - Mar. 29
Visit Chichen Itza on the equinox!
- Jungle Boogie
Mar. 23 - Mar. 29
Meet driver Josh in person on our trips through Belize and Guatemala this spring!
- Pyramids And Playas
Apr. 6 - Apr. 19
Sign up for Pyramids and Playas by February 25 and get $100 off the trip fare! Be sure to mention you saw this offer in our newsletter. This offer is valid on new bookings only and is not combinable with any other offer. You must book directly with Green Tortoise to get this discount.

Celebrating Mexico's "Capital of Pyrotechnics", driver Josh describes one of the many amazing experiences he's had while driving through Mexico for the Green Tortoise for the past eight years. Check out this spectacular display of revelery and local culture for yourself!

I still have it. A white dress shirt, covered in burn holes and smelling of gunpowder. I'd worn it buttoned all the way up, with the collar raised to protect my neck from being singed by errant rockets. Sunglasses to protect my eyes, though it was night. I even tucked my pantlegs into my socks. You never know: I'd seen fireworks ricochet off the flagstones at some pretty wild angles. The charred shirt was souvenir enough. I didn't need a burn mark spiraling up my leg as well.

The fireworks in question were part of the annual celebration of the Dia de San Juan de Dios, patron saint of the town of Tultepec, Mexico. Every March 8th, dozens of neighborhood groups celebrate Saint John by building giant, papier-mache bulls, which they adorn with necklaces of buscapies and parade to a hilltop chapel. When night falls, the bulls descend to the crowded zocalo. The fuses are lit, and the smart people run. Buscapie translates as "foot-seeker." Like a bottle rocket without a stick, they move like angry grasshoppers. Only they're a lot bigger, and they're on fire. From a distance, they're quite pretty. From up close, well ...

Some words of advice for those headed to the Tultepec: stay for the whole week and check out the pyrotechnic towers as well. If you're in the zocalo when the buscapies are lit, hop up and down a lot so they won't stick to you. And leave your favorite shirt at home.

After your visit to the fireworks festival hook up with one of our fantastic Green Tortoise trips through the Yucatan!

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Friends of the Tortoise: BUNAC

BUNAC - Work, Volunteer, and Teach Abroad

Work, Volunteer, and Teach Abroad
www.bunac.com

BUNAC offers a range of working holidays including a summer camp counselling programme in the USA and Canada, flexible work and travel programmes to Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and South Africa and volunteering/teaching placements. These are open to 18 year olds and over in the UK, the USA and Ireland. Programmes last from five weeks to two years.

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"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

- Mark Twain

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