Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Magical Sea of Cortez

I woke up refreshed at Cliff's B&B in Mulege. Cliff had left me freshly squeezed orange juice in the fridge and a nice baguette from the bakery in Santa Rosalia (and apricot jam - my favorite) I relaxed over a cup of coffee and caught up on the Internet. There was no one else staying there so it was quiet. And early morning is the best time, when it's only hot, not scorching.

I took Cliff up on his offer of the use of one of his kayaks. His place is right on the river which is wide and shallow here near its mouth. And it's bursting with life, not surprising when it's one of few sources of fresh water in the middle of a desert. Silvery fish were jumping like clockwork. Birds were everywhere - brown pelicans, great blue (and other) herons, white ibis, osprey, cormorants, shorebirds, gulls, and more.

It was only 9 am but the temperature had already risen to scorching. I soaked my hat in the water and splashed myself but it didn't seem to make much difference. Still, it was a joy to be out on the water. There was only the occasional motorboat to break the spell.

I paddled down to the mouth of the river and around the lighthouse. A bright blue jellyfish drifted by. As I got into the salt water I could see more fish in the clear water. I spotted a big King Angelfish beside a rock surrounded by schools of yellow striped Sergeant Majors with a few brilliant Blue Chromis mixed in. Then I noticed what looked like a fin sitting on the rocky bottom. I lowered my paddle towards it and a Scorpionfish shot away. They're so well camouflaged that sometimes all you can make out is a fin or an eye.

It was a fitting end to this visit to the Sea of Cortez, reinforcing it's magical fullness of life.

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