there was no light in a clouded sky, we saw our way by the 'cities' of
plankton bursting green as they hit the rocks, the shoreline, the bottom
of the sea. When a cloud of green burst six feet wide on the sea-floor,
it meant we had startled a ray, and when a dozen zigzags shot into the
air, we had propelled a squadroon of ballyhoo into flight.
jumped into Hans' lap.
"I got a fish in my boat!"
Plankton, which means 'wanderer' or 'drifter' in greek, actually refers
to any plant or animal which is at the mercy of the flow of the tide.
A fish with weak fins, as a jellyfish, as the microscopic animals and
plants which make up the variety of plankton-types, we are at the mercy
of the dark, and the light of these microscopic wanderers.
drift along the edge of an island we cannot see. It is a Hayao Miyazaki world, undescribable on film or television. The speed of a fish in panic
is impossible to see correctly in daylight, even for scuba divers, who
lack a top-side perspective. When something bigger than a ballyhoo comes
trailing along the coast, its tail of green light extends four feet behind
it, and when it's startled, its destiny into the deep is only put in quotations
by a streaming biolume.
Coyote is a bay within a bay within the Sea of Cortez. Within this bay
are several islands, all of them are quite distinct from the one we are
circling now. Brother and I opted to visit the lot of them. We double-dry-bagged
utility ropes, carabiners, snorkeling equipment, water bottles, a few
stashes of food, camera equipment and life jackets into the dry-holds
of the kayaks.
was five-thirty in the morning, and I could have been foaming at the mouth,
because the sea was already beginning to stew winds funneled from the
northern-exit of Bahia Conception. The three miles to Isla Guapa lent
itself to high enough winds that most of the time, I could hardly see
Brother Hans as his boat dipped under the white caps. When he did rise,
he was grinning. Certainly, he felt that same sense of being free as I
did. In a small boat in a big sea, you have a lot of places to go, without
any traffic signs or traffic to keep you in order.
Guapa, which unlike the other islands in the bay, is not protected against
the open Bahia Conception, and without this protection, its black rocks
are bare - no vegetation, nothing living except the pelicanos who paint
it white. This gives it somewhat of an ominous look, given there is no
bend around the back-side of Isla Guapa, where we are protected from wind,
and find a nook to lodge our boats against. Wading along its southern
coast, Hans finds a series of concave lipped-ledges. He says, "Follow
me," hoisting himself onto the ledge and bouldering out of site.
"This is great for learning how to climb, because if you fall, you just
fall into the water."
Hans teaches to replace fear with reason and calm. "See that foothold,
it looks sketchy but its not.now place your weight outward and grab along