but go ahead, make all the plans you want.
It won't make any difference.
You ran the numbers, you know the game, the right people and the secret code.
You can pray to Jesus, shake your medicine rattle, fung shui the plants, join the Scientologists and their weirdo brigade...
but in the end, the House will always shut you down.
Because you are only Human, because YOU are not in charge.
You evolved a pretty impressive brain to body ratio and a refined sense of reason and a big fat WILL and all that makes you feel big in your boots?
The fact is, Destiny calls the shots.
Fate is Nature's game.
She's been reading your hand this whole time, ready to lay down a full house, just when you thought you had the thing wired.
This is how IT happens in the Baja...
The solar oven dinner was fantastic. The rice was perfectly cooked and the chili was divine and somehow, the whole thing tasted like sunshine.
We dragged Jon out of the engine room at 10:00 pm and made him eat some with us.
After dinner, was the moment of truth.
We fired up the engine and she roared to life.
Good 'Ol Perkie!
Well done, Captain!
Jon went below to check the high pressure oil hoses and I stayed on deck watching the engine temp gauges.
Shit. Piss. Fudge.
I shut her down.
"we're overheating baby," I called down to Jon.
He dropped his head and thought for a moment.
A very long moment.
We all waited, silent as stones.
"Lets go to bed" He said finally.
" In the morning I'll take off the coolant cap and if the water's down, it means that there was an air pocket in the system from when i drained her and refilled her fluids."
"What if it's not that..." I started, then realized this was a terrible thing to say.
"How about I make us a drink and we watch a stupid movie" I suggested instead.
We crawled into our bunk with a couple of sippers and watched Army of Darkness and that... is how you handle a skipper who has been in an engine room for four days.
The next morning, Jon was up and out of bed, like a kid on Christmas morning.
We all waited.
"It's the coolant!". He called from the engine room.
We motored over to the fuel dock and watered the boat up and filled her spare water tanks and solar showers and when the cruisers net came on at 8:00 am we tuned in to hear the weather so we could figure out where we would be going today.
The kids were bouncing around, throwing around names of favorite anchorages nearby that they wanted to go to.
We haven't been in the ocean here in months, so everyone was chomping at the bit to get going.
Santa Rosalia was our goal and after that a straight shot to Bay of Los Angeles further up the sea-
We looked forward to catching up with Eyoni and free-diving and hopefully seeing some Whale sharks!
We had been so busy the past few weeks we haven't checked the weather much and we are wondering what we would have in the way of winds for sailing North.
"Good morning...Escondido!' called the net moderator in his best Casey Kasem imitation.
"let's all listen for any emergency trafiic this morning, emergency traffic come now. Over".
There was none. Hardly anyone is around right now.
"Okay Lets get down to business" He continued, his tone more serious.
" I'm sure everyone wants to know about that Cat. 2 Hurricane headed our way..."
Jon and I looked at each other.
" The models we're seeing have her at about 350 miles southwest of Cabo and heading NW at 16knots. She's actually supposed to upgrade to a Cat 3 possibly 4 by this afternoon with sustained winds of 150 mph and some of the predictions have this baby hooking around back on the Baja and shooting the pass just south of Mag Bay-that means she could come howlin' across the desert and hit us oh say... around Santa Rosalia."
Jon and I are wide eyed.
We just got the boat back together and now a major ass-kicking HURRICANE is headed directly for us?
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!!
The rest of the net was a blur because we were so flabbergasted.
We sip our coffees and contemplate our future, when hear our boat being hailed over the VHF;
'Pura Vida, Pura Vida, this is Manta"
We know of Manta- they're famous.
Terry Kennedy and Dawn.
Terry is a legendary diver, credited with mapping pretty much every rock and reef in the Sea of Cortez.
He's also the guy who discovered Giant Manta-riding.
If you have ever watched Discovery Channel and seen someone riding on the back of one of these underwater winged-behemoths, you were probably watching Terry.
The kids and I had met his girlfriend Dawn on shore-my arm was still in a sling from partially dislocating it and she had given me the name of a Mexican healer in a pueblo near Loreto. I had introduced her to the kids and we chatted.
She was cool and kinda tough seeming but I could tell she was a seriously nice lady and she gave the kids a sly look when they told her how much they love diving.
"Are you scuba diver's?" she asked.
We told her we wished, but time and money had not made that possible but It had been Kai's dream since he was five years old.
"Me and Terry do a lot of diving" she said.
Big, fat, understatement.
I knew this already. I had read about their finds and exploits in lots of our guide books.
Terry is the reason us new cruisers don't run aground on all the rocks down here. He put them on the charts.
"Stop by the boat sometime and see us" she said.
We had chatted a few times on the radio but we were so busy with heads and fridges and other annoying stuff that there was no time to socialize.
Meanwhile ,Terry and Dawn had spent the week discovering a whale graveyard off of a nearby island.
Now they we're hailing us.
"Hey there, Pura Vida, you kids aren't planning on goin' North right now are you?"
He was gently warning us not to be total idiots.
"No, sir" we said.
"Well, where you at?" he asked us.
We told him we were just about to leave the fuel dock but we hated the idea of having to go back to the mooring field and wait around.
"I got a mooring outside here." Terry said in his smooth, friendly drawl. "Why don't you come hook up near us and we can get to meet you all"
This was like being the newbie nerds at high school and having the quarterback asking you to sit at his lunch table with his awesome, babe girlfriend.
"Sure!" we squeaked. "We'll be right there!"
We motored outside and met Terry and Dawn .
Terry is like a cross between the Marlborough Man and Santa Clause. He's the nicest, handsomest guy in the world, wrapped up in this ex-navy seal, total-badass package.
Dawn is a sunset fox and a world class sailor, diver, explorer, skipper and one look at her and you know you are in the presence of a seriously deep and very cool lady.
We loved them instantly and the kids did too.
We chatted for awhile and the they offered to take us diving the next day while we all waited to see what the weather would do.
We told them none of us had ever scuba dived before and we had no gear other than wetsuits and fins and masks-and weightbelts.
"We can pull together what you need" they said.
Terry and Dawn are life long divers and Terry's ex-Navy seal, a rescue diver with over fifty years of experience, he's a major dive guide for rich cats looking for the ultimate dive experience.
Even the Mexican navy calls him in when something needs looking at below 200 feet.
-we were in very good hands.
And lucky us, they just love turning people onto diving.
The next morning the net had good news.
The storm had switched directions and her eye was breaking up. She was gonna bring some rain and wind but no doom to our door.
We met in the dinks at 10 am and were off.
Terry showed us how a regulator works and gave us some do's and don'ts and with that, my family of fish was off.
Ducks to water... Kai to Scuba.
Remember, this is a kid who's first and only word for the first six months of his speaking life was...FISH!
He would look at us with such an urgent, pained expression and say FISH... FISH... FISH!!!!!
So, we did what we could.
We bought him fish tanks and plastered his room in national geographic photos of whales and groupers, we took him to every aquarium from Canada to Tennessee. He spent every day he could in the ocean -even becoming the youngest polar bear to swim the frozen waters of Bowen Island on New year's day. We had such a hard time dragging our splashing, happy, four year old out of the icy black water that it took us an hour to warm him up by the bonfire.
FInally, we gave up and moved onto a sailboat.
Terry and Dawn smiled and laughed as Kai disappeared and then Jon and then me and before you knew it Kai and I were following Terry and Jon down to 50 feet, having the time of our lives.
Hunter and Dawn snorkeled up top and later, Kai joined them while Terry took Jon and I to 75 feet to find a black coral forest.
There were moray eels and the usual assortment of fishy friends and we had a ball with Terry teaching us how to eat raw scallops and feed the fish by hand with the leftovers.
Not to be outdone, Hunter the Great, grabbed a regulator and swam around in the shallows dragging Terry's huge tank.
Scuba diving at 7 years old!
Fearless and excited to explore her ocean home.
At some point, Terry went to grab his loose tank, floating in the water, and was surprised to discover a little Hunter on the end of his regulator hose, gurgling around, looking for octopus.
There were a lot of laughs and many, many smiles that day.
We will never forget it.
We had them over for thank you drinks and they told us lots of great tales of amazing dives all over the word and then they took us all diving again the next day- Little hunter even had a little "octopus rig" off my tank with her very own regulator, so we swam together breathing underwater at 20 feet while Kai and Jon and the others explored the depths.
So, thank you broken fridge and head and engine and Mother Nature for threatening to storm, because of all those things...this last week held amazing experiences that we never dreamed possible.
This is why it's actually excellent that we Humans are not in charge
As old, Alan Watts liked to ponder...
"Do you do IT, or does IT, do you?"
Well, when you're out here, in the strange and wonderful, in the uncharted and un-schooled...
IT definitely does YOU, amigo.
|The wonderful Dawn and Terry of Manta|
|Off for a new adventure|
|Terry teaches Kai the basics|
|The Scuba tribe of Pura Vida|