Discovering San Lucas Cove (March 3 2016)

Big Dog is happy to stay put here for a while. There is power, shade, WiFi, showers, toilets…

The morning starts with a kayak session out to the spit that forms the cove. The water in the cove is very shallow, but the kayak glides along just fine. The spit is rocky, with big round rocks. One of them looks just like Daenarys’ dragon egg from Game of Thrones. I pick it up and hold it over my head.

“I am Mother of Dragons!”

Shells crunch underfoot. There are bits of dead things, too. At one spot, we discover a dolphin skeleton. It hasn’t finished decomposing and part of the skin is still there. It’s beautiful in a macabre sort of way. Isn’t it strange how nature is beautiful in any state and really, the only ugly things on this planet are what man has made or destroyed. Humans are the ones with the Ugly Touch.

At Dave’s Happy Hour, a neighbor, Myron related the tale of the dead whale that came floating into the cove one year, stinking up the whole place but Dave went out every day to collect bones, clean and dry them. If I lived here, I’d do it, too. I’m sort of sorry that I can’t do the same with the dolphin skeleton. Or bird bones. Or that beautiful pelican skull.

As we come back in, we cross paths with Dave and his pal who are back from fishing.

“We have some for you, too! Take what you want!” Dave yells from his truck.

When I go to the cleaning station to do just that, I realize Dave’s pal is not as inclined. He gives me the collars of 2 of the 3 yellowtails. (One is too small to bother with.) He’s also got the roe of one of them. Being used to tarako, I am shocked at how big this set is. It is roughly twice the length and thickness of a regular tarako, and beige, looking like a big fat penis.

The Dude is preparing fillets for himself and friends. These North Americans do not clean fish as surgically as the Japanese and there is a lot of waste involved. The Dude tosses away tons of bits to the birds that have gathered and I look longingly at all the chunks being thrown away. They could be so good as tataki. Japan is not the land of plenty that North America is and we tend to use every little bit, creating ways to use almost every part of the fish or vegetable.

In Japan, yellowtail are known as shusse-uo and as they grow in size, their names keep changing. From inada to warasa to hamachi and buri. These here are about a meter long, so what does that make them in Japanese?

In the afternoon, I marinate the collars in a soy-ginger-honey sauce. The roe gets boiled lightly in salted ginger water, then mashed into a kind of taramo salata (without the potato, using a bit of mayo and cream, as well as salt and onion.) It turns out nicely!

There’s a Pig Feast going on at one of the sites. The guy who hosted last night’s Happy Hour has spent the whole day spit roasting a whole pig! He had is encased in chicken wire and when I went to look, it was nice and brown. Unfortunately, we have not been invited.

Instead, I get to fight ants again, who are all over our water jug, then have a dinner of yellowtail sashimi, taramo salata with tostadas, and an entrée of shrimp, fresh green peas and mashed potato.

“We’ve gone through almost everything,” I warn Big Dog. “The wine is gone, vodka… most of the food…”

 

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Author: ontheroadwithsprockets

I've been traveling since I was born -- the first big trip was before I was two, across the Pacific, from my native Japan to Los Angeles on a cargo ship. There have been many journeys since then, through many continents and cultures.

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