Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fishing, Cooling and Cleaning

As the countdown continues to my departure from Loreto to return to Canada in a couple of weeks, I am trying to knock things off my “bucket” list to wrap up this season’s Blog topics.  So last weekend I decided to go fishing for the first time this season.

While sport-fishing from a panga boat is the “normal” way to fish here, I enjoy being able to cast from the shoreline around Punta Nopolo, the rocky outcrop at the south end of the development, that gives it’s name to the district around Loreto Bay.  This spot is ideal for me, first because it is a 15 minute walk from my home and it gives me access to deeper water than the shallow shoreline that makes up the rest of the Bay.

You will note that my reasons for this preference did NOT include the results that I have had on previous occasions when I have fished from this location.  That is because it is important for you to understand the criteria on which I base my success, when it comes to fishing.  For me, it’s all about the journey and not the destination – in other words, actually catching fish is not the object of the exercise.

Rather, it’s an admirable excuse for taking a nice walk along the beach and occupying a couple of hours at the water’s edge; watching the waves, the tropical fish darting among the rocks, and enjoying the views  of sea, sky, and shore stretching all around me.  Based on my past experience, my measure of success when fishing is not gauged by what I catch – but how little I lose, lures and tackle, etc.

So with that that perspective in mind, I collected my tackle bag, fishing rod, a bucket with other accessories and my camera and I headed out.  When I first reached the beach the water was calm and there was only a slight breeze, so far so good.  It was also low tide, which means that the apron of rock around the base of Punta Nopolo where I like to stand and cast from would be exposed and accessible.  As I continued along the shore I noticed rolls of dried seaweed scattered along the beach where it had been stranded by the receding water of the low tide.

The significance of this seaweed eluded me at the time, and I carried on to the end of the beach and started out around the shelf of rock surrounding Punta Nopolo to my first casting spot.  As I reached the large rocks at the edge of the water I saw that they were covered underwater with a huge bloom of thick seaweed that I had seen the tell-tale traces of on the shore.  There would be no fishing from shore today – any lure I used would become hopelessly tangled in the thick weeds when I retrieved it after casting.

The presence of seaweed is not a common occurrence in these waters, most of the year the water is clear of vegetation.  But, like many other natural elements in this environment, things come in and out of season and run in cycles – and this is the “season” for seaweed.  As I have described in the past; every bug has it’s season, but that season is limited – by another bug, and so the cycle continues.

There I was, halfway around Punta Nopolo, carrying all my fishing equipment, but not able to fish.  So, I continued around the base of Punta Nopolo, enjoying the views, watching kayaks, snorkelers, and birds.  Scrambling up and over boulders relaying the fishing equipment from one resting spot to another, taking several rest stops in shady spots until I made it all the way around and reached the beach at the entrance to the estuary on the far side.

Standing on the beach in a few inches of water was a majestic grey heron, still as a sculpture, fishing for lunch.  I gradually approached to get closer pictures, with the full knowledge of the bird, which checked my progress with each advance, even though I never got closer than 50 feet away.  Finally, however, I broke through some invisible “heron barrier” and with a guttural squawk it was airborne, clearing the estuary bay with a few powerful strokes of it’s massive wingspan.

While a sighting of this kind of bird is uncommon, it is not unheard of – but for me, it holds a special significance.  Many years ago I did a soul retrieval with a Shaman in western Canada following which, he told me that my Power Animal was a Grey Heron, not quite the Lion or Tiger I had wished for, but as I learned more about the characteristics of this creature the more I came to appreciate my newly discovered relationship.  It is for this reason that I take particular comfort from these occasional sightings – it is important to me that I live somewhere that my Power Animal calls home.

With the departure of the Heron it was time for me to head back along the beach to my home, still carrying my unused fishing equipment, but I was not returning empty handed, in fact, the catch of the day turned out to be far more than the few “nibbles” I had expected at the outset.  Adapting to the change of plans, scrambling up and over the boulders, enjoying the peace, beauty and solitude as I paused to rest, and culminating with my Heron encounter – this simple exercise of going for a walk had taken on a spiritual significance.

On a more mundane level, I have been making other pre-departure preparations this past week.  Recently the air conditioning quit in my car, and with a long hot drive ahead of me in a couple of weeks fixing it was definitely a priority.  I got a referral from another Homeowner to someone in town who services both home and car A/C systems.  After locating their home and place of business in the Zaragosa district of town, I managed to communicate the problem and understand the solution (lubricating the compressor and recharging the Freon coolant) and agree on the charge of 750 pesos, about $65.00. 

However, before the work could begin he managed to explain that he needed to buy the lubricant at an electrical supply shop downtown and so I drove him to the store and then gave him the cash to purchase the $25 spray can of lubricant.  After we returned, the servicing only took about half an hour and then I paid the balance of what I owed (plus a small “propina” for the quick and cheerful service) and I was on my way again “chilling” in my once again cool vehicle.

Among the other departure details I have renewed my visa for another year, upgrading it to an FM2 from the FM3 I have had for the past five years, and had my annual teeth cleaning appointment with Dr. Ramos (Maestro Limpio, April, 2010) at the bargain rate of 500 pesos ($45), during which appointment I also conveniently had my car washed nearby!  

So a week that began with an attempted fishing trip (which became a reminder of a spiritual journey) and included oral and auto maintenance (at bargain Mexican prices) was a fitting example of how the exceptional and commonplace combine for the unique experience that is “Living Loreto”.