Thursday, March 17, 2011

Friendships, Stories, and "Jump!"

These entries are from friends we met in Baja. Their stories and friendships are what make this place a home and adventure. 

From: Greg Gordon on his fishing boat.
A True and Documented Mexican Fishing Tale From the Sea of Cortez.....
As we disembarked on our day at sea aboard Oh Loreto fishing vessel....I asked Jack and Marea (Greg's kids)..."What do you want to catch today?"....
Right away my son Jack says.. "A Marlin!"...Okay sure you do I say....They are pretty strong!
We start trolling Live Mackerel baits...I see a small Stripe Marlin in the baits all lit up!...I say..."There he is Jack!..He`s all yours!"
He grabs the light tackle rod with 25 LB test ....Hooks it and says,"I got it!..Fishawn!"
“Jack....Do you need some help I say?...
"No! I got it!"
40 minutes later without any help at all, it was at the boat...I say, "Do you want to release him?...He says "Are you kidding me!...I want to eat him!"
So in the boat he came....Jack couldn't stop smiling...In fact he went to sleep with the same smile and saying to me..."Ya know Dad...I am a big kid now"
This was probably the best fishing day of my life....And I caught nothing.
Proud Dad

From S/V (sailing vessel) Eyoni in Bahia Los Angeles, 2010 – A Tale of a Whale Shark Ride:
Spent two dreamy weeks in Refugio at the North end of Guardian Angel Island. It is spectacular: loads of quality fish, free-swimming scallops (to 6") and rock scallops (in as little as 8' of water - sort of like SoCal before the Abs were fished out), beautiful anchorages, scenery, arches and shells. Spent time in close company with a gaggle of sperm whales on the way up there (like w/in 30'!) and got whale- shark rides yesterday. The latter was crazy. 

Nancy ran the dingy to get near the whale sharks, and we'd hop in and swim the final approach. The viz was only about 20' and they initially shied away from me and Zada (our 5 year old daughter).  When Z got out of the water, I was able to power alongside them and make eye contact.  That made a difference. 

After swimming underwater, parallel (2-8 feet away) I'd dive beneath them belly to belly and would either be treated to their MONSTER back-lit sillouette looming above me or they would follow my eyes through the turn and barrel roll a complete 360 over the top of me. Crazy! 

While doing this I made one particular friend with a shark with a scar on his back who would circle back to me and stop in front of me at +/- 45 degrees with his mouth and eye about 1.5 feet away. After looking at each other for a while, I reached out and stroked his head which he seemed to like. Then, as he continued to swim with his remora entourage, I slid up onto his head (much wider than my full arm-spread) and had a ride. More Crazy and totally amazing! 

Well, Z sees all this and wants in on the action too. So we swim into another couple of the big fish and finally hook up with old Scar-Back. After he turned and approached us, we both pet him for a while then, as he continues swimming, I huck Z up on his back and follow suit. We both got a several minute ride, and at one point he swam past the dingy and I rolled off to push it away so N was treated to watching Z ride past the dingy 5' feet away while lying on the back of the
biggest shark in the sea!. We tried a couple more times but only got swim-by's. At one point I was lagging behind as we approached, so Z hopped off the dink by herself and took off swimming toward the fish by herself. She's getting comfortable in the water, that one....

In April of 2009 at the Loreto Cruiser Fest, Ann and I met three couples with children similar in age to ours who were sailing the Sea of Cortez and mainland Mexican coast. This was their first “cruising” experience. Their stories intrigued us; nudged us to consider possibilities. Their tales may nudge you too. 

S/V Windfall:
Ok. You sail in a lake in Colorado. Your wife’s first overnight is when you cast the lines from the dock and sail south down Mexico's Baja Peninsula . This is your first blue water sailboat. It’s 35' and a dog, your teenage son, and 9-year-old daughter are game for the ride. Reading manuals: equipment, weather, and safety, and picking experienced sailor-friend’s minds, and determining what is really needed on the boat is really all it takes. And you turn the key and go? They sold their internet host business, and said “adios” to a couple acres in Colorado and are picking up the language and endless skills along the way – including their son’s epic catch of a Dorado with his bare hands.  We were definitely inspired and amazed! In fact so much so, that we bought their boat 11 months later when they up-graded to a larger Tartan 41’.  Jim and Meri were filled with tips about preserving produce, weighing essentials vs. non-essentials (milk only if in powdered form), and a carefree attitude of, “How hard could it be?”

S/V Don Quixote:
A husband and wife with five college degrees and three children, ages 9 – 13, have an opthamology practice. A carpet cleaner stops in and offers his service to clean their 3,000 sq. ft. facility for $600.00. Opthamologist/landlord, Dean, agrees and watches the cleaner wrap up and scoot out two hours later. “That’s more than I make and less headache!” he muses. 

Sharing the revelation with “Toast” his wife, it didn’t take all five degrees to launch a plan, tidy up the business end, and join the Baja Ha-Ha sail down the coast: first sail; first boat. We met them during the first year of their cruise -- Skipper, Admiral, and all crew members looked healthy, happy and completely in the cruiser mindset.  

S/V Just A Minute
The Setting: the perfect burb (think Desperate Housewives); The Car: import – Volvo. The Job: away from home way too much. The School: not connecting with son, so Mom decides to home school. The Dilemma? Dad doesn’t see his 10-year-old son growing up. Mom suddenly sees the Setting/Car/Job as someone else’s life – in fact way too duplicated in many friends’ lives – and wants to clock out. The Solution: Pack up family , sell everything and go cruising. Mom emails Dad (away working as usual) the simple word, “Jump..."  Next day, the same email, “Jump..."   This continues for two weeks, and Dad leaps in with both feet. A couple of sea courses, and they make their maiden voyage headed to Mexico. They couldn’t look more at home at sea. Ask Dad, the former big exec. or Mom, the once had it “good in the hood” their thoughts on the transition, and it is -- hasta luego to that life! “Jump!”.

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