I love arriving in an anchorage at night, then waking up to see where in the world you are.
I looked out and saw how beautiful Bahia Santa Maria truly was. The mountains surrounding the Bahía Santa Maria. The topography, creating all the peaks and valleys. The texture that looks like a beige velvet, rolling hills and valleys reaching down to sandy beaches, welcoming sea-goers, with open arms. The shadows in the valleys and sunshine on the barren desert-like landscape. Powerful and majestic. The warm mountain colors contrasting the cool ocean colors. They taught me that a balance of fluidity/strength is crucial to a healthy life, remain spontaneous but do not get pushed around. Stand strong to what you believe in.
I decided to celebrate the milestone along the Heartwood Path of finishing the Introductory Experience and to wander in nature, with no itinerary.
We kayaked into the beach and explored the canyon, I was attracted to the pretty pink flowers, standing out in the crowd of cactus. After exploring the canyon, we went up the trail to the cliffs. I was in a bikini and it felt great, specially since it is the middle of winter. The cactus lined the trail and I regretted wearing flip flops made out of recycled rubber, because the spines would go straight through the soles (confirmed). Even the bushes had spikes hidden behind every leaf. None of the spiked scene attracted me. Made me wonder, who would be attracted to cactus.
Ironically, later that night I read this passage in the book I was reading called, “The Power Of One.” “The Almighty conceived the cactus plant. If God would choose a plant to represent him, I think he would choose of all plants the cactus. The cactus has all the blessings he tried, but mostly failed, to give to man. Let me tell you how. It has humility, but it is not submissive. It grows where no other plant will grow. It does not complain when the sun bakes it back or the wind tears it from the cliff or drowns it in the dry sand of the desert or when it is thirsty. When the rains come it stores water for the hard times to come. In good times and in bad it will still flower. It protects itself against danger, but it harms no other plant. It adapts perfectly to almost any environment. It has patience and enjoys solitude. In Mexico there is a cactus that flowers only once every hundred years and at night. This is saintliness of an extraordinary kind, would you not agree? The cactus has properties that heal the wounds of men and from it come potions that can make man touch the face of God or stare into the mouth of hell. It is the plant of patience and solitude, love and madness, ugliness and beauty, toughness and gentleness. Of all plants, surely God made the cactus to his own liking. It has my enduring respect and is my passion.” I found a new respect for cactus and deeply appreciated it the rest of our times wandering in the desert.
After about 10 feet from the coast it was hot- like really hot. Baja California desert hot. We kept wandering the desert terrain and came across piles of glass where someone had burned a bunch of trash.
Below that cliff we saw a cobblestone covered beach. We both thought oh, wow! Sea glass central! We scoured down the cliff and checked out the beach. I found three round gem-like sea glass pieces. I was shocked that that was all. Kyber didn’t see one until right before we left.
We decided to move on and continue our exploration. Back up to the cliffs, back up to the heat, back to a beach, back to the cool ocean air, and so on. Eventually I got so hot up on the cliffs that the next beach, had no choice but to jump in. It was a giant sandy beach with rocky tide pools on each end. Very flat and welcoming.
We went skinny dipping and cooled down our core temperatures. After drying off in the ocean breeze, we continued back to the boat.
What a serene surreal secluded beach. Perfect. Once back on the cliffs (about 20ft above sea level) we were instantly back to being warm. Kyber stopped to watch a panga boat cross the bay and enter the mangrove swamp channels, taking notes. While standing still, I realized how hot I was, so I walked to the edge of the cliff, there it was again, that refreshing, reviltalizing, rejuvenating, cool, ocean breeze. You could stand 10 feet back in the desert and then back to the cliff… and wow what drastic vibes. Just then Nature had presented the natural attraction of the day. Crisp seaside air. The ocean was like a magical natural air conditioner for the Baja desert. Oh how grateful I was to find refuge from the desert heat, down by the sea.
Dolla Dolla Bill Ya’ll
One day we decided to go exploring in the sand dunes. We rode the dinghy to the beach. It was basically a large sand spit that extended out with the ocean on both sides and a little green folliage in the middle, but no land.
On the way in we saw stingrays lining the bottom of the sandy sea floor… EEk. As we would cruise along they would spook and dart around like floating gliding hockey pucks. After we all three pulled Red Rocket up past the tide line all the sudden it was Kyber, Paul and I, no plans. And the words, “Ready Set Go” played in my mind. Go do whatever your heart desires on this vast deserted sandspit.
We all instantly started to beach comb and soon realized we had hit a landmine of every shell imaginable. More sand dollars that I had ever seen and the kind you see in the stores for sale, with the holes in them. I spent the next couple hours wandering alone looking for treasures.
I found many shells that you could not see in Santa Barbara. I found so many interesting things I had to set up a bank for my sand dollars so I could make deposits once my hands got full. I did not plan to take all of these shells home with me. I just wanted to see them as a collection and create a little shrine. Also I wanted to show Kyber all of the treasures I found! At the end I would pick a couple that I could not live without. I really felt as tho I was depositing money into my mermaid bank. And let me tell you I was thinking, “I’m rich b****!” the whole time. Cash Rules Everything Around Me C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dolla dolla bill ya’ll.
I also started to collect a lot of trash as well. I started using an old soda liter bottle to carry my sand dollars to my bank.
I then realized how useful some of the trash I found on the beach could be. And that I would not just bring it back to the boat to throw it away or recycle it, I could actually repurpose the liter on the beach. It got me thinking about how there are so many treasures you could find on the beach, not just pretty sea shells.
The biggest natural attraction of many was the soft dry sand that made it feel like you were floating as you walked. the warmest, fluffiest, softest, sand I had ever walked on.
Later we went for a dinghy ride in the mangrove swamps. Very cool maze in 0-3-6ft of water with beautiful peelers at the river mouth. As we entered into the mangroves we saw a fisherman camp along the banks.
We stopped to give them some LighterBros. The men were unloading their catches of the day. As I peer into their panga I was very surprised to see it was all sharks. About 3-4ft long. Then… get this, he takes the shark out of the panga and just in the blink of an eye, slices the fin right off and places it into a special box that helps preserve it correctly so they could sell it. Unlike many of the fisherman in the world, he continued to fillet the shark and save it to sell the meat. He would toss the waste back into the water, explaining the swarming birds circling above, now fighting over the scraps. He had the biggest smile on his face.
It was in that moment that I realized he is not the issue. The fishermen who are catching the sharks for the fins are not the issue. The issue is the people who are buying them. And the biggest issue is the people who are then eating them. Surrounding the panga was an entire village of people. Many of the men dressed in their waterproof white boots and waterproof overalls, clearly “pescaderos.” The children all run around playing. The women sit chatting and some cooking in the kitchen. These men are just trying to feed their families. It was an important lesson that if there is a market to buy things, people are going to provide it. The providers are not the real issue. It is the people who are supporting that economy.
As an environmentalist it would be easy to do a story on how horrible these fisherman are… “look and what they just did to the shark!” But standing there as he over and over sliced the sharks fin off, I did not have those feelings. Not one single bit. You read about the die-hard environmentalists doing sit-ins and protesting but I now have a new take on that sort of activism. There is more than what meets the eye. You have to think about the big picture, the grand scheme of things, and address the root of the problem.
The rest of the days we were simply spent EZ livin… LighterBro.
Hawaiian Tribute to Sublime -Livin’s Ez