It was dead early. I forgot 4AM even existed. When 4AM and me happen to cross paths, it is normally because it is gently wrapping me up in my duvet as I finally climb into bed. But today we were heading towards the beach for a day of fishing. It was less the prospect of fishing that was appealing and more the day out on the waters. We walked, our street deserted, as you would expect it to be. Sleepily, we passed closed taco stands. I realized I could kill for a taco. I could always kill for a taco. We reached the rocky beach in a few minutes and watched the Pacific Ocean stretch lazily before us.

Apparently, Sayulita’s beach used to be covered in fine sand. A few weeks before we came, it was flooded. When the water went down again, it went further down the coastline, which means the beach had doubled in size but also that it was covered in washed up crap.

We walked up to a peeling, tattered blue motorboat where a few Mexican guys we’d never seen before were loading fishing material and beers. A few tree trunks that were lying there were pushed into position and the boat was slowly rolled into the water. Tan muscles shaped by experience steered the boat forward. This was routine and it was done in silence.

We had a beer. We caught a fish. Not the one we wanted, just the bait for next fish.

Losing the coastline from view, we stopped the boat and threw out our first fishing net. We relaxed into the morning silence. The boat swayed and made me feel sea sick as hell. There was a light breeze but the air was hot and salty. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply feeling the nausea in my throat. I watched them as they pulled the net out full of sardine-looking fish. These were to be bait for the next fish to be caught. We chatted in a mix of broken Spanish, English and French while cleaning the net - by that I mean we decapitated the sardines to pull them off the net, and by that I mean I watched as my friend did it. Lovely. We started off again.

Our next stop, we used the fishing poles. We had reached a spot where the water was postcard blue. We jumped into the ocean. The strength of the current hit me. Too proud to complain, I swam following the others, tiring out quickly. On my way to the rocky doorway in the horizon, my foot hit against sea urchins and an invisible jellyfish stung my arm - postcard blue hides a lot of unseen obstacles. I became the proud owner of a swollen arm and bleeding foot. We reached a small beach where the sea bottom briefly came up. We enjoyed the sun for a bit catching our breath from the swim. It was my first time swimming in the ocean. When we swam back, I tried to lift myself into the boat but failed. I had to be hoisted up. I felt like a warrior. It must have been about 8 in the morning. We had a beer. We caught a fish. Not the one we wanted, just the bait for the next fish. The motor jolted to life again and we set off.

I had almost knocked my teeth out with my own knees and life was perfect.

“Look!”. Whales. They rolled around in the water like shiny rubber tires. Tails splashed. Absolute freedom. The moment ended.

In a few hours it would be sunset. We were far offshore. We hadn’t caught the wanted fish. We headed home. We saw the coastline. The boat caught speed. Papas grabbed our arms frantically putting us into position, feet pushing against the seat in front of us.

“What are we doing?”

“Don’t move. We need to speed.”

“Speed where? Hey! Speed where?”

I was so stiff I didn’t dare move. We beached the boat. It was like hitting a wall.

I sat for another minute, wobbly from adrenaline. My friend found her sunglasses a few meters down the beach. We looked at each other and laughed. I had almost knocked my teeth out with my own knees and life was perfect.

We only caught one edible fish in the end. We bought limes and chili peppers and tortilla chips. Everything was chopped up and thrown into a plastic mixing bowl. A fire was lit and crates of beer appeared. So did people. A crew of 13, we sat under a sunset, passing the bowl around hungry hands and shoveling the spicy mixture onto chips. It was worth our time out at sea.

             

The Writer

I write stuff for fun, if it was for a living I would be homeless.

Find out more about me, Stefanie, here.

Quotes

People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home. Dagobert D. Runes