On the way back we made a stop by a cart on the side of the street selling home made fireworks. You'd be surprised what these Mexican folks can put together with some gun powder, news paper, and a crude fuze. I'm impressed.
Life with these people has been a profound experience. They are a close knit, well bonded and very loving family. More concerned with legitimate happiness for themselves and one another than succeeding at dominating an arbitrary aspect of life. Dramatically different from anything I've ever seen, and the atmosphere it creates stirs strange emotions. The greatness of their love and affection for one another (and now myself) really is supremely beautiful, and gives me a mixed sense of joy and satisfaction to be a part of it, but at the same time a deep and dark melancholy. As much as I like it, I can only ever barrow it. It's not mine to keep.
I've talked at length with the patriarch of the family whom I have nick named “Senior Bat Manuel”, and I seem to be an endless source of curiosity. Where I come from, what I do, my personal history and past which I am ever reluctant to discuss. I am here to replace my past with a newer and better one, and I can't do that thinking about where I've been. And if I'm not careful he'll have me paired off with a niece or grand daughter before I can go anywhere. It's too damned early in this run to be getting married off to a latin beauty queen just yet, but the sentiment is beyond endearing. And flattering.
I've managed to network my way onto a fishing boat here, and spent the better part of the day gill netting for mullet in the Sea of Cortes. We met at the dock at 0300 and made 4 sets of gill net in shallow water. The first 3 were left to soak for the rest of the day while the fourth we set and pulled for 7 or 8 hours. This was some damned interesting fishing. When they have a tear in the gill net here, they don't bother spending the time to patch and mend it properly, instead they simply tie huge knots in the gear to close the sizable holes, of which there are many. The net seemed to hang up on a rock every few minutes, and as everything is done by hand, much like the set netters in Alaska, those rocks made life hard from time to time. Instead of real buoys the gear was floated with old gas cans tied off to the net. No shit. I'm a long ways from Bristol Bay.
Making the first set along the shore of a small island under the light of the full moon I was caught off guard by one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed on a boat or anywhere else. Immediately after heaving the gas can over the side into the beach water the net and lines exploded into streamers of light, sparkling with tracers in the current behind it. The phosphorescence I've read about for over half my life and never set eyes on myself. And there it was. I suppose that's a sensation I need to get accustomed to now. I expect it will be happening a lot from here on out.
As for the fishing itself, I am astonished by the variety of critters we brought up. I lost track of the species of snapper, grouper, and all manner of other fish I've never even seen pictures of before. Some were very familiar variations from my days commercial lobstering in the Florida Keys, and many were as new and exotic to my eyes as anything that could come from outer space. I must have fed a small fortune in tropical aquarium fish to the mob of greedy pelicans that followed us everywhere. It was indeed an educational day. And a helluva way to blow off some steam. Few things are as satisfying as a successful day of killing fish. And my wages for the day? A two pound bag of shrimp and a small flounder from our catch. I don't know much, but I've figured out enough to know that if you don't give a damn if you're making a buck or not, you're doing something right.
I'm stealing time from the dishes in the kitchen to type this out as quickly as I can. After we finish up closing tonight I'll have time to catch a nap before hitting the dock again at 0300 for another round. Every day is bursting at the seams. I love every second of it.
I'll post pictures/video of the fishing as soon as I can, but as things have been lately, I've been hard pressed to write a simple update and upload pictures. Down time and an internet connection have just been that scarce for me.