The visibility is great.
Jon makes Kai a target for speargun practice.
They spend an hour hitting bull-eyes and then, distracted by the fishiness beneath them, go in search of the real thing.
Kai's practice pays off and he nabs a beautiful grouper-big enough for dinner for the four if us.
Later, I will saute it in Mirin and Soy sauce, drizzle it with wasabi butter and serve it over sushi rice,peppered with thin slices of pickled ginger, steamed soy beans and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.
Yum. Yum. Yum.
Hunter and I snorkeled around looking for sea horses and were discovered by a very large female Dorado.
It was at least four feet long and silver and yellow. The big fish must have been slumming it in the shallows when she spotted Hunter and swam back in a tight circle to have a look at the strange little blue and black fish with the long blonde hair. Hunter screamed through her snorkel-understandably, its a pretty awesome experience when the fish checking you out is the same size as you are.
I swam up behind Hunter and put my arms around her. The Dorado saw me and figured out pretty quick that Mama was NOT something she wanted to tangle with but she gave us another quick pass before taking off. Hunter and I looked at each other under water with wide eyes. That was the biggest fish either of us had ever seen underwater-and man, was she pretty.
Kai saw her too and talked for at least two hours about how he wished he had taken a shot at her but she was just so impressive that he forgot to cock his gun.
Dorado is insanely good eating and a fish that big would have been an awfully impressive feat for a ten year old- but I was glad he got to just marvel at her this time.
Kai does a lot of careful considering before shooting. He doesn't shoot juveniles or anything we can't eat. He spends his nights lying in his bunk and pouring over fish books learning their mating habits and favorite prey so he can imitate noises to lure them closer to him while he hides on the bottom behind a rock. No one who has spent any time with Kai underwater can deny what a thing he is to watch down there. It's absolutely beautiful.
He has taken me by the hand and led me down deeper than I usually can dive, to find lobsters and sea horses and many many octopus that I would never have seen otherwise. He looks for signs of their dwellings, little piles of empty clams outside of a rocky overhang, tiny , camouflaged, bubble-eyes peering from between swaying fan corals...
Discovering things with your children is a constant treasure hunt-and the prizes are everywhere.
Eyoni has been hugely influential to us in teaching us how to LOOK-these people are like advanced archeologists and naturalists-to spend a day with them is to discover bones and teeth and tiny critters and tarantulas and arrow heads and to learn about a thousand things beneath your toes or your flippers that you might have missed if you didn't have an eye trained to look for them. What a gift it has been to become friends with them.
|The coolness of Eyoni|
|Ready for the hunt|
|Off to town|
|On the Malacon|
|Boys at the dock|
|Tourist with prize from a Marlin|
|Finding a spot with internet!|
|running the Volcano|
I was paddling the other day when a commotion in the water caught my eye.
Three large dark shapes were hurtling towards me.
I knew right away they were large males dolphin-scouts from a pod swimming somewhere near by and they were running reconnaissance on me. We have seen them do this many times from the bow of our boat. The big males come to check you out, then bolt back to the pod and give the "all clear". Seconds later the pod will rush in for a gleeful free ride on the bow wave-then after a few minutes another signal is given and they all disappear as quickly as they came.
I had not yet experienced this from the board.
My board is about eight feet long and those males were MUCH bigger, maybe, twelve feet. They rushed around and rolled under me. I could see their huge, muscular bodies perfectly outlined against the white sand bottom. I was in about 25 feet of water, paddling against a pretty good wind and current, so my maneuverability was limited. I held myself in position as they rushed in and out at me several times-sometimes coming within inches of my board. I made some really good eye contact with the biggest male-hoping to impress him with my groovy humanness-as ridiculous as I must have looked in a yellow bikini, big hat and sun glasses, with a vintage Versace scarfe tied around my hips-Hey, you can take the girl out of Hollywood... but a little Hollywood is gonna stick to the girl.
I guess they decided I was something not to be feared-or missed-and they disappeared. I sat down on my board and drummed on the fiberglass with my fingertips, hoping to attract the youngsters if they came.
Come they did.
Jumping and leaping and twirling like a show at Sea World. In smallish groups of five and six, sometimes ten and twelve animals at a time. I saw many more of the larger pod further out in the bay-it was kind of a "super--group" hundreds of animals hunting and playing as they rolled through the shallow stretch of cove, gobbling all the Green Jacks and baitfish they could swallow. The dolphins that came to see me were all with very very young individuals, some perhaps not more than a few weeks old-I even saw a set of twins. I guess in all my small-silly-yellow-bikininess I was deemed suitable for 'Nursery" play while the adults hunted.
I spent forty minutes, all alone, in the company of baby dolphins and their baby-sitters.
They swam under my board clicking and squeaking, rolling over on their backs and peering at me with warm black eyes. I reached to touch them. I put my hand in the water but they always stayed just a hands width away-you could tell the little one's wanted to get closer. They would swim so my fingers would almost brush their tiny backs but then a larger, baby sitter-type would swim between us and warn them off. Sometimes the larger juveniles would jump out of the water just in front of my board and spin and flip. I thought they might hit the board but they never did. It was so amazing and went on for so long that I finally paddled back to Pura Vida-about a half mile away-to yell at Jon.
"Hey!" I had to yell really loud in the wind.
Jon came on deck, he had been cleaning a fish in the galley.
"Holy crap!" he pointed, "There's dolphins behind you!"
"Get the camera!" I laughed, as a big one leaped out right next to me.
By that time, most of them had already taken off, done with me and already back to the pod but we did manage to get a few shots.
|Making new friends|
|Coming to play!|
|Just hang in' with the pod|
The Scarfe clan was sitting in the lee of an extinct volcano, the other afternoon, watching a moray eel prowling the sandy shallows under Pura Vida, when something absolutely bizarre happened...
The phone rang.
It was Jon's agents from Los Angeles with an offer-to play a preacher/werewolf on an episode of GRIMM and could he get to Portland ASAP?
Isn't life strange sometimes?
Decisions needed to be made...and quickly.
The deal had to close in an hour.
We radioed Eyoni, who were anchored off a nearby beach and piled in the dingy to discuss it over cocktails and appy's.
There was a lot to think about.
We thanked our lucky stars (and Jon's excellent reps back in Hollywood ) that there was a chance to act and make some money and all of this was procured while we drifted around the Sea watching stingrays do backflips.
Given our current logistics, this would take some doing.
We were a half a day sail from the nearest town with an airport and the airport is only open two days a week.
More urgently though, we live on a boat and you don't just turn a key and walk away from a boat. Especially in Mexico durning Hurricane season.
Jon would have to scramble to do what he could and would have to leave here before us-there were no more seats available until a week later.
Awesome Eyoni offered to babysit me in Escondido for the final final on the boat stowage.
Skipper Ethan and his beautiful and bad ass Nancy are excellent sailors and know the ropes down here-stowing your boat to leave on a mooring when Hurricane season is in full swing is no joke...
This being our first venture, I was nervous about doing it without my captain aboard. There are still. after all these months, some blue jobs that still remain more than a little mysterious to me. Having Ethan do the final dingy stow-especially as our engine hoist is broken and Kai and I together don't even come close to Jon's upper body strength when it comes to getting it aboard- Ethan would run all the engine and generator stowage checks with me and make sure all my knots would hold if it blew 150 miles an hour in our absence. Jon, being Jon, would make lists and lists and do everything as tickity-poo as it could possibly be done in the forty-eight hours before he left.
This meant finding a good mooring and diving it to make sure it was secure, pulling off all our sails and canvass, making all the endless lists of spare parts and replacement parts that will be needed when we rejoin the boat. Meanwhile I would defrost and clean out all our stores-amazingly, our provisioning was down to the very last shreds of what I had planned for our journey-I was quite pleased about that! I would finally get to remove all the very un-needed extras, blankets and winter wear that we still had aboard-remember it was Feburary when we left!
Jon texted his agents from Eyoni that, amazingly, all could be done and the deal was closed.
We tied one on with Eyoni and celebrated the total amazingness of a universe that ends our five month adventure with a TV job.
We dingyed back to Pura Vida, who lay anchored in the dark night, at the far end of the cove.
A lightning show from a Chubasco set fire to the horizon behind the outline of the volcano.
The sky was full of stars.
Our wake glowed brilliant green in the phosphorescence around us.
Manta rays glided beside us, glowing like pale green phantoms in the water.
In two days Jon would be back on set.
They will cut his long, blond hair.
And shave his beard.
We will take down our sails,
and get on a plane
and it will take us two hours to travel the same ground it took five months to cover and a year and a half to prepare for.
And we will go back home,
and pack up our house.
But the Sea of Cortez lives inside us now.
And wherever we go, we will wake to her stillness
and be humbled by her beauty.
Her deserts have set our hearts on fire,
and our children have grown strong beneath her mountains,
and we have whispered poems beneath her stars...
and we have whispered poems beneath her stars...
And Pura Vida will be waiting....
For us to return.
|We love you Pura Vida|
|Daddy and his girl|
|The crew preps to leave her|
|Our Captain leaves us|