Jumpers and Skimmers, Divers and Pickers
The excitement in harbor that keeps us forever entertained is the never ending antics of the fish and birds. The fish are the jumpers and the skimmers. The birds are the divers and the pickers. More about them in a bit but first a little catch up since I haven't written in a couple of months. What have we been doing besides watching the wildlife? For me, the plants still fascinate me and, slowly, I'm learning to adapt to this hot environment. We are preparing for hurricane season and, as everyone is, still adapting to the waves that COVID-19 rolls in.
The cool Pacific Ocean winter weather subtly warmed up. My long pants and heavier cotton tops got buried in the drawer after we rounded the tip of the Baja Peninsula into Cabo San Lucas. Short shorts and tank tops became the norm here in San Jose del Cabo. The landscape is dry and dusty like summers on the eastern plains of Montana. Many trees and plants seemed to be dead. In May I thought, surely this must be Mexican summer conditions.
In June those seemingly dead trees started to come alive again. One called a Golden Rain Tree decided to bloom. I had been curious about it from the start because of the seed pods. They looked like perfect, smooth, long sausages. They hung from a very sad looking tree I was sure would not produce any new life. I was wrong. It produced flowers that are a bright and cheery yellow. They cascade off the branches like flowing water not only attracting us but shimmering green bees, Euglossa viridissima. Following this aureate show came the Poui Tree with abundant soft, pink blossoms and then the Flamboyant Trees with an amazing orange-red floral display. (See the "Summer" album in the gallery for pictures of these trees.)
Then the humid air arrived. It's heavy. It's hot. It's still. It brought with it scents and memories of my past. Heavy, humid, sea salt air filled my senses and took me down memory lane back to summer vacations on Cape Cod. Warm water and waves. I haven't lived in this type of environment for decades. It is so nice to, once again, be able to jump into the warm sea and cool off.
Now that the beaches are open again I'm not the only one looking to jump into the sea. Activity has picked up not only on the public beach but at the private hotel beach as well. They are welcoming all to partake in refreshing bebidas (drinks) from the beach side bar, snacks from the food truck and a place to rest your body to soak up some Vitamin D. There are canopied, queen size beds; very large square hammock type beds (they look to me as though they should be part of a jungle gym); and the usual lounge chair type seating, with or without an umbrella. Those of you who have vacationed in the tropics are probably well aware of this scene but it is all new to me, especially the queen size beds. Do they change the sheets after every party? Don't they get soaked from the swimmers? Do they lug them off to storage every night and what kind of bugs are hanging out in them? I think I'll stick to my beach towel on the sand like the old days.
We have a rental car now so we can easily get a variety of food and supplies. I can curb the hoarding habit I got into before I left the States. Most stores have reopened and some restaurants as well. If we go out for a meal we choose the eateries with outdoor seating. Our favorite one here by the marina has strict protocols for their diners. Upon arrival they take our temperature, give us hand sanitizer, and have us step in a shoe bath. I stepped over this bath not knowing what it was. I was sent back to the shoe dip and because of my inquisitive look it was explained to me that this is the new normal. The employees are fully outfitted with masks, a plastic head cover over that and gloves. We use our phone camera to get the menu by scanning their QR code. The silverware is tightly wrapped in a napkin and then practically shrink wrapped with plastic.
Our first trip out of the Los Cabos area took us to the cooler side of Baja and Todos Santos with its sweeping views of the Pacific blue. Oddly enough I have an old friend that lives here part of the year. When the restrictions loosened up we got to have a reunion. Mary and her husband Jeff own a little piece of heaven just a short walk to the Pacific Ocean. We met up at a cute and homey coffee shop in town, had a fabulous soy latte and macaroon and then a walking tour of town. At the time there were still not many tourists so the streets were very quiet as store owners were getting their business ready for reopening. We walked by Hotel California, from Eagles song fame, but couldn't go in as a deep cleaning was taking place. Todos Santos, an artsy, quaint town, does attract tourists but as of yet it is not overbuilt like the Los Cabos area. It still has a feel of authenticity. We will definitely return for a little more poking around.
All of the above happened before the real heat arrived. Now my days are mostly filled with figuring out how to subdue the heat that zaps all my energy. I move from shady spot to breezy spot, if available, in and out of the water and then back to shady spot. Sounds a little monotonous probably but when you have no energy that's ok. Luckily those birds and fish I mentioned are here to entertain the passive types like me.
The harbor is filled with fish of many sizes and shapes. The jumpers are the silver mullet fish and the occasional spotted eagle ray. No one really knows why these fish jump straight out of the water but it sure is entertaining. The mullets do this one at a time even though we can see they are schooling with their clan. Sometimes it's just one jump, sometimes it's a set of two to three jumps. The rays often will jump in sets of two. Out on the ocean many rays will be jumping at the same time. It's really hard to get pictures of them but we continue to try. Again, check the "Summer" album for the pics we have to date. The skimmers are smaller fish and they are in a hurry. They jump in groups not going straight up but skimming the surface like a skipping rock. They are trying to escape the predators - the bigger, quick moving fish like Pacific Crevalle Jack. If you can catch a glimpse of them it's like a lightning bolt - fast, fleeting and exciting to watch.
The divers are the pelicans and terns. The pickers are the osprey and the frigate birds. The divers go straight into the water from far above. Sometimes they emerge with dinner, sometimes not. The pickers, like the osprey, come down to the water talons first. They splash in and try to grab onto their prey with those feet. Very exciting to watch. The frigatebirds, well, they don't often get much since they actually don't like going in the water. They try to steal from the other birds, picking the recent catch out of another's mouth or picking a jumping fish in action. I recently watched them feeding on small fish at the surface by dipping their lower beak into the water like a ladle. I wonder how they survive.
We continue to plug along day by day getting ready for hurricane season. The sails are down now and stored. We rented a studio across the street to store boat stuff and for me to use as an office with better internet connection and air conditioning! This will help me survive this heat and the storms that may start next week! We hope you are all enjoying the summer as best as you can considering heat waves, tropical storm surges and coronavirus restrictions. Stay well!