We’ve been in Mexico for exactly 4 weeks now. I am ready for a healthier (i.e., more vegetable-oriented) diet, for sure, and ready to put more time and effort into personal hygiene! But the “niceness” of the San Lucas people have kept us “trapped” here.
After coffee, we take the kayak out again, this time to explore “mangrove cove.” It is super shallow, but with the muddier bottom, visibility is low. Mantas scurry, disturbed by our kayak. At the mouth of the mangrove cove, which is also the boat launch for the local fishermen and campers, there is a horde, an army of pelicans and gulls awaiting that fallen tidbit. The pelicans are giant, dog-sized birds and look quite comical with splayed webbed feet when landing. The gulls are very loud and chatty, with many different sounds, all sort of disturbingly human.
Baja is birdwatcher’s paradise – there are so many cool looking birds here I wish I knew more about them. Not just the water birds, but all kinds. Today, I see a small one with an egg yolk yellow chest and black markings singing on a palm, as well as a vivid red one in flight.
Dave and The Dude are back from their morning fishing.
“Got you something,” they say. It’s a small-ish yellowtail. It was their only catch today and they are giving it to us! Thankfully, it is about half the size of any of yesterday’s catch, making it slightly easier for me to deal with. Since we are supposed to go to Eric’s to look at his Northwest Territories photos, I put the fish in a plastic bag, then into the collapsible bucket to deal with later.
Eric shows us photos from his computer of the Nahimi Falls in the Northwest Territories. They are twice the height of Niagara and you have to fly in and fly out. One day we’ll get there.
Eric’s dogs are wacky and entertaining. Squeegie is a small fluffball that barks at everything. Perlita is a butt-ugly wire-haired chihuahua-like mutt who is absolutely addicted to fetch. She will put the object – if can be anything from a golf ball to a piece of bark – by your feet. If you ignore her, she will put it ON your feet and she will play until she drops dead. With that kind of single-mindedness, she could probably be trained to do just about anything.
I take the yellowtail to the cleaning station and begin cleaning it, cutting it into fillets. Although in Japan I would keep the skin on since it is so tasty when grilled, I take it off. Yellowtail only have scales near the head and the rest of the body is slick, covered with a mucus so the whole cleaning process is not as messy.
Gulls and pelicans are drawn to the activity and wait for me to toss the guts to them. This yellowtail is female but young – the roe is finger-sized and orange. I carve off as much as I can, throwing skin, bones and fins to the waiting pelicans and gulls, then put the rest – chunks for sashimi, bits for ceviche and several fillets – into separate baggies. By then, I am smelling as fishy as the yellowtail.
We think we will move on tomorrow and Big Dog has been busy washing the kayak and drying it. When I am done dealing with the fish, I go to fold and put away the kayak. Yes, that’s the Origami Expert’s job.
In the afternoon, we make your rounds to say goodbye to the Samaritans of San Lucas but everyone is at Pig Man’s place, making pork tacos from last night’s leftovers. Since they are all gathered there, we take over the ceviche and roe dip for everyone. Not too many people try the roe dip but those who do seem to like it. We get to try the pork tacos and have some more of their smoked yellowtail which is pretty salty but tasty.