Flight of the Errant Torpedoes
Baja de los Angeles to La Paz
Baja Sea-Kayaking Adventure #4
26 days, 480 miles, Nov 1977 with John and Al
The sea has risen somewhat during the night, so we sleep until daybreak. Then we have a leisurely breakfast consisting of a mug of granola, and for myself the same mug refilled with a mixture of powdered milk and brewer's yeast. I believed [back then] that the yeast provides go-power and it was my habit [back then] to consume it daily when on a strenuous journey.We pack the boats and set off into inauspicious seas, paddling for three hours then landing on a beach that is familiar to me. On last year's trip this was my first camp from Bahia de Los Angeles. Meaning that this year we are three hours behind my former self. John, Al and I set off once again, and paddle another two and half hours. I would like my companions to see an estuary hidden from view, so we stop there to explore the shoal backwaters and search for moon shells and oysters. But our wading barefoot proves a mistake; for Al steps on a stingray. It measures just a few inches across, by his reckoning, but has a magnum stinger. And for being stepped on, it responded with an incapacitating puncture wound. The excruciating pain in Al's foot eventually subsides enough that we can resume our travels, so we put in one more session at the blades, and round the back of Bahia Animas. Bahia Animas was something of my nemesis, because it was here, in the year previous, that I had to turn back. So from this point the coast is new to me. We land ashore and make the evening's camp. John cleans the afternoon's catch of fish while I pursue a bit of diving. The warm waters are sunlit and clear, and the rocky reefs are laden with an astounding variety of brilliantly colored tropical fish. Taking a big breath of air, I plunge into deep water and become engulfed in an enormous school of moon-silver fingerlings. Each of the thousands of members is indistinguishable from the others, and the school itself moves as though a single living creature. I swim within it, sweeping my hand into the multitudes, watching the cosmic brilliance flashing out across the arc of my view. And the next moment they are gone.
Some of the bigger reef fish are curious and unafraid. Bodaciously colored angel fish with their long dorsal filaments make close inspections as I crush open a few spiny urchins using the point of my spear. Angels, blueheads, and sargent majors home in for the feast in a frenzy of commotion. Now I have many friends following close behind, en masse. It is a game - the hunter feeding the hungry prey. But to their advantage these colorful species aren't so palatable to we humans, and I sense that they know this. Meanwhile I remain fairly close to shore and maintain a wary eye for sharks, which are rarely seen in these waters, thanks to the ongoing efforts of the local Mexican fishermen. The best tasting fish of all, according to many locals. Gliding slowly, I swim with deliberate undulations of rubber fins while being careful not to break the surface, because that would create a threatening mood that all sea creatures - large and small - seem to understand. A splash signals danger. Looking ahead, I catch a glimpse of a cabrilla darting into the safety of a rocky crevice. If I were spear fishing, I might approach the crevice and fire point blank into its unseen interior, knowing that that fish is in there. I would then retrieve the spear with its line very cautiously, as occasionally the spear will impale instead a vicious moray eel, which is also good eating but dangerous.
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1976 Baja3 Linda
1981 Baja8 Ed