After nearly a week of being holed up in a quiet bay, anchored below a mountain of rock and cactus off a lovely sandy beach we moved north to Ensenada de los Muertos, Cove of the Dead. As there is a restaurant and golf course here, it is much livelier than the last place despite its name to the contrary. At Bahia los Frailes I had only gone ashore twice, to walk on the beach, opting to stay on the boat while Steve and Peter took off during lulls in the wind to go exploring. Early yesterday morning the sea was calm enough to hoist the anchor. Motoring makes it easier to take pictures since the boat is more level than when beating into the wind and sails don’t block the view. Whales and dolphins visited us once again, but still, I have no photos that would prove anything other than a fin in the distance lost in the waves. A pair of whales dove under us and a huge school of dolphins leapt at the bow. Like fishing, it is a running joke. We always trail a line, with various lures attached, but nothing has been tempted to bite. The decks remain free of fish guts, which is meager consolation. To be able to fish it was required that we each buy a Mexican fishing license, which so far is a contribution to conservation, since our efforts have proved to be the case.
There is something worth photographing that isn’t quite so frustrating. The ocean as a mirror of the sky, the water as a clear body revealing its depth over the varying ground beneath it, the shadows thrown from wind tossed waves, these are things that do not appear and disappear in a flash that is nearly impossible to capture. They simply require observation. Whoever gets those brilliant whale and dolphin photos I am convinced has never set foot onshore or lowered a camera from their face and receives regular telepathic messages from sea going mammals about the exact location of future breaches.
The ocean is so much more than blue, it is a complex range of light, shade and colors on its hypnotic, undulating surface. When underway I rarely go below. Going ashore, while fun and interesting at times, does not hold a candle to the effect of the ocean on my senses. It is the reason to be here, to put up with the inconvenience of boat life, to risk, well, everything. Standing on the bow of a boat careening up and down over the deep ocean swells, with nothing but the horizon demarking the meeting of sea and sky, I lose the ability to indulge in woes and worries. The monkey mind chatter simply stops. Laughter from deep inside wells up and I only attempt to contain it if people nearby would fear for my sanity. Luckily my traveling companions either don’t notice or they understand from having the same appreciation for the mesmerizing effects of the undulating surface that the boat so willingly rides over. The boundary between self and everything that is not dissolves, a feeling of grand expansion from heart to horizon wells up and for those moments of exquisitely, intense joy I will bargain for nothing. They cannot be traded in for stability, a well ordered life, the compromises that form meaningful relationships or even for a secure future. I simply do not know how to find that feeling any other way. Drugs promise it, meditation may offer it to a more disciplined mind, love of a loyal pet maybe, but yesterday while underway, the magic was mine for hours at a time. It’s all relative though, for others it is merely a recipe for hurling.