Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jumping in...

Dinner for the Fishing Boat:
Mrs. X’s Fresh-Caught Yellow Fin Tuna (a 25-pounder!)
Pan Seared, Salt and Pepper Crust with a Yellow Tomato, Yuzu and Purple Shiso Salsa
Quinoa Tabouleh with Cilantro, Parsley, Mint and Lemon
Harissa Marinated Roasted Vegetables
Banana Cream Pie

“You wanna fight? I’ll give you a fight!” I yell into the hot Mexican sun. “Bring it on!”


The rod bends like the arc of a bow. I lean into the water, the rod straightens and I reel back as hard as I can. “Breath. Just relax and enjoy it”, John, my adoptive fishing guide, says, with Zen-like calm. “Don’t fight it, you want to tire HIM out, not you”. My heart is racing. I bend my knees, straighten my back and plant my feet firmly into the deck preparing for a long battle. We’ll see who wears whom out first. The rod arcs again, zzzzzzzzz, everything I’d reeled in speeds back out, he’s going deep this time and trying to take me with him! The resistance eases, I reel in, he’s heading back towards the surface now. “He’s gonna jump, he’s gonna jump”, the crew yell. Out of the dead calm of the azure sea bursts an explosion in electric blue and silver as a massive marlin leaps into the air, thrashing and fighting wildly. “Woohoo!”, I holler, “come to momma”! He goes back down again, back and forth, back and forth, reel, let go, reel, let go and finally he’s getting closer. I can see his silvery body shimmering beneath the surface. The guys reach in with gloves and pull the line up. Two of them grab the fish by its bill and fin and haul him into the boat. They cover its eyes with a wet towel and the fish is immediately calmed. Next, they shove a saltwater hose into its mouth to keep it alive. Then they measure it: 5 feet, 8 inches – 125 lbs! The marlins color fades to grey. John, my fishing Zen Master, implants a small computer chip in the marlins underbelly that will gather depth, water temperature and location information, another tag is attached to its dorsal fin and as swiftly as they got him in the boat, the guys lift the marlin and, while still holding onto his bill and fins, hold him over the side of the boat until he recovers from his shock and is strong enough to swim on his own. When he begins to fight again, the guys let go. As if by magic, his electric blue spots return and I watch in awe as he swims off…

We spend the entire day aboard a fishing boat in Magdelana Bay, off the Baja Coast. Apparently people wait all year for the weather we have right now – glassy seas, 90 degrees outside, 86 degrees in the water. We follow flocks of birds, watching as frigates and pelicans swarm and nose dive, the waters surface bubbles like a jaccuzzi with fish, marlin and porpoises jumping out of the water chasing their prey, “bait balls”, as the fishermen call them.

We pull up to another ‘bait ball’, I grab my mask and fins and jump in. A massive cloud of fish hover beneath the boat, moving together, as if a single mass. A marlin comes up from below, I almost think he’s aiming right for me – revenge, perhaps? But he swims passed, lucky me! The entire ball darts first in one direction, then another – and always in perfect unison - trying fruitlessly to escape as four more marlin and some dorado join in for a tasty supper. I paddle but can’t keep up as the feeding frenzy continues and the ball is chased. The water sparkles with crumbs of lunch as a wave of fish scales drift passed me.

Then, I’m alone. I just float, face down in the womb of mother earth, taking deep, relaxing breaths through my snorkel, white beams of sunlight resplendent in the sapphire abyss below. In the solitude and silence, I find myself again and I’m reminded why I am here - not just to watch life go by, but to jump in…

No comments:

Blog Directory - Blogged