Baha With Alex, 2002

by

February 2003

Alex standing on giant round boulders
Alex limbers up

Most Baja lovers consider it to be more than just a peninsula. I start to feel Baja soon after entering the desert south of El Rosario. There is a wonderful section of desert down there that resembles our Joshua National Monument. Alex always bugs me to stop here to stretch our legs. We took a few hours this year to hike a canyon: I followed the dry riverbed below and Alex would periodically hail from above, perched on some rock. Noting the desolation of the area I remarked to Alex that he was about the right size for a hungry mountain lion. He just rolled his eyes. Yes, I thought to myself, he has changed since our last visit to Baja only a year ago.

When we arrived at Puerto Escondido in early October the countryside was a lush green color. Three weeks of chubascos had transformed the desert. It was hot and humid and, at night, we were molested by swarms of bugs that the locals called 'nene'.

The Sea of Cortez, however, was a flat beautiful blue and loaded with baitfish. The evening bite would start with periodic baitfish eruptions by the old pier. As the evening progressed the baitfish seemed to be everywhere. Groups of pelicans dived from area to area and we followed them into the black horizon. Alex and I caught sierra and skippies until our arms felt like lead. It felt good to cut loose after 4 days of driving. Eventually Alex hooked his first dorado on a Zebco reel that wasn't up to the task.

Alex holding a sierra fish
A Pt. Escondido Sierra

We grew very excited at the sight of the fish near the boat because there was no indication of dorado in the area. When I tried to net the fish it just took off. There was a scream from the reel and then a gunshot as Alex stumbled backwards. His face wore an expression of disbelief and bewielderment.

One morning we encountered a school of porpoises off the south end of Carmen. I wanted to show Alex how an experience with wild dolphins compares to Marine World. I directed him to sit on the bow of the boat and I gunned it into their midst. We had leaping dolphins close enough to reach out and touch. They were directly below him and he was shouting back to me above the din of the motor that they were squealing to him in dolphin-talk. I wondered if they were expressing their excitement to him. During these chase games I could feel their powerful strokes beneath the boat causing the motor to shake in my hands from the turbulence they created.

Alex in bow with porpoises riding the wake.
Porpoises cavorting with Alex

Alex is six now and into monsters. We often ended our evenings at the campground with stories about the big three( Frankenstein, Wolfman, and Dracula). Alex concluded that Dracula was to be feared the most. His favorite, however, proved to be the Wolfman, a sort of schizophrenic, reluctant monster who didn't want to scare you, but had no choice in the matter. I casually reminded Alex that night about the full moon that we were going to have.

continue to part two