Sunday, May 16, 2010

Birthday at Sea (Cabo #5)

Did you know that there are over 200 varieties of cacti in the Baja Penninsula?  That every meter of brown trunk on the tree-like cactus signifies 100 years?  That many cactus out here in the dessert are over 500 years old?  Did you know that the skinny long horned cattle out here live off cactus, twigs, and discarded newspaper?  After I was told, I witnessed the poor bony things munching on these items as they wandered the roads.  "How do their owners ever coral them?"  I asked.  "They know where the water is.  They always go home when they are thirsty."  I looked around at the barren unforgiving landscape.  "Fair Enough."  I replied. 

Our van was filled with a couple from Alaska, a hispanic couple from San Diego, and 4 co-worker women from a ground breaking Minneapolis animated printing firm.  By the time we arrived at Cabo Pulmo, we had discussed what Amy's boyfriend makes her for breakfast and Jesse's growing up in a small Minnesota town of 3,000.  Pulmo is a National Marine Park which houses the only coral beds in the Baja area.  We donned our wetsuits and set out to enjoy the ocean in two small motor boats.  The method of launching was unique to the area.  We jumped in the boats and a pickup truck revved its motor, floored the gas, and pushed us out to sea. 

I plunged head first into the first dive, whole heartedly embracing the wonderland that lay minutes before had carried on unseen.  Nemo, Dorra, parrot fish, black puffers with white spots, spiny puffers, Baracouda, and hundreds more swam around me, sucking in coral, deficating sand.  The waves swished over my back, time passed.  Mezmerised by the swaying motions,the delicate color patterns, and the busyness of life, I lost myself.  My ever racing brain, slowed then ceased its endless observations, judgments, and plans.  I simply flowed with the tide, with the fish, in and out, up and down, through dappled sunlight and shade.  Suddenly, a hand grasped mine.  I looked over to see the snorkler in the ridiculous camoflauge hat... the man I love who was turning 41.  Middle hands grasped, outer hands stroking, we combed the grounds now as a team.  Far from feeling upset at my disturbance, I felt as though I had become a new, more complex creature, one with four legs and three arms, a creature that saw more, discovered more, felt more.  Forty five minutes passed like ten. 

The next dive was at the sea lion colony.  The boat pulled up to a rock where they lay, sunning themselves.  While the others dispursed, I patiently swam around and around their main rock, trying to get their attention.  When it appeared they were unwilling to give up their nap to join me for a swim, I cried small forlorn sounding barks through my mouthpiece (to amplify and de humanize my voice).  I lifted my flippers and clapped them together, twisted and turned around and around, then barked my hopefully sad sounding bark again.  One by one, they gathered at the edge of their rock to stare at the sad, flopping thing in the water begging them to come and play.  The big ones just looked at me and barked in reproval.  The small ones looked as if they were downright concerned about my plight.  Couldn't it swim?  Finally, the lead female and one of the small ones, nodded their heads up and down, with an splash, dove to join me. 

Under water, they were enormous compared to me.  Their big brown eyes dwarfed mine.  We dove together, twisted, turned, and flipped.  I blew bubbles.  They blew them back.  Suddenly, my diving companions sighted my friends and en mass descended.  My friends took a quick exit.  I swam as quickly as I could, but withing seconds, they had passed from my sight. 

Our boat continued further out into the ocean till our guide stopped.  We dove into the middle of a giant silver sturgeon ball.  Occasional white imposters flashed occasionally in the thousands of swishing bodies that swirled around us as a single entity.  My mind melded with the borg, till reality called me back to the boat. 

Briz used his Spanish to talk our guide into a deeper look at the ocean.  Soon, it appeared that  a raptor flew out of the ocean then dove back down.  Then another and another.

The sea was alive with fish taking flight.  Mobula Rays, full of the joy of mating, leapt, soared, then dove.  Finally we stopped directly over a school of rays.  Without wasting a moment, Briz and I fell back in the water and took advantage of the few minutes the rays were unaware of our presence to enjoy this rare opportunity.

Our final dive took us to the coral reef.  Once again, the strange creature that was Briz and I set off together to discover new life.  We followed a Morray Eel amidst the unique coral formations, we pointed out the sea anemones, we embraced the world that lives on most of our planet but escapes our view.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIZ.  May 41 treat you kindly.  May I treat you kindly.  May our four legged creature work as well above land as it does under sea.

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