Today marks three months since leaving home. 90 days! Many miles, LOTS OF FOOD, and time meeting and speaking to the locals. Paloma and I can’t seem to go through a single village without speaking to at least a handful of people. Sometimes the conversations are simple and quick while others become meaningful and drawn out. We love this; it gives us a better sense of the area we are traveling through.
Three months and still on the same peninsula may seem like a long time but has allowed us the opportunity to get to know the Baja. One could spend years getting to know this part of the world. There are folks riding the Baja Divide and trying to complete it as fast as they possibly can. We just may be the slowest, but our adventure feels full of experience.
A few weeks ago we spent a few days in the small fishing village of El Datil, B.C.S. We arrived around mid-day and immediately started meeting friendly people. We bought snacks and ordered some lunch from Juanita and Margarito, who also run the abarrote ( small store).
That evening we ended up camping just outside of the town in an old Palapa. I walked to the abarrote to buy some groceries to cook for dinner. There I met two fisherman, Chorombo y Lolo. We talked and joked and before long I had gotten an invite to help them check their octopus traps the following day. Finding a crew to take me out to catch octopus has been on my mind for a few hundred miles.
The next morning I am up before the sun. I am ready. I find the men; they give me a pair of boots and fishing overalls and the day begins. A chilly morning, wind and light rain.
Crew members: Chorrombo – Captain
LoLo – First Mate
Eujenio – Second mate
Compa Kevin – new and untested recruit.
We headed out towards “ LA BOCA”, where the estuary meets the ocean, and there is life everywhere. Whales and dolphins swimming along with us! Hard to put this impressive beauty into words, but we saw more than two dozen dolphins and a dozen or so gray whales.
We arrive at the traps. They had left about 90 octopus traps and 40 lobster traps. We begin hauling. The first trap that has a pulpo in it, Lolo opens it up and has me grab it.
The moment I have waited for! Time to fight an octopus!
I grab the octopus and it latches on tight to the trap sticking its tentacles through the holes of the trap. This being my first time, I wasn’t gonna let this bastard win, I pull hard and rip him from the trap. It latches on to my arm, I tear it off and throw it into the bucket. Being my first time getting an octopus out of a trap I just sorta man handled him out, and ended up tearing off one of his tentacles. The men found this quite entertaining. I learned that you can get the pulpo to move around in the cage and then you grab him out.
We continued checking, harvesting, and baiting, traps. Those that know me understand that I am no stranger to hard work, and there was plenty of it. By 2 PM we returned with 30 kilos of octopus. They told me the catch was slim because we are in the very end of the season, but to me 30 kilos is a lot of octopus.
Next up, LUNCH
My beautiful Paloma had an amazing lunch ready. After good food a rest was in order, we rested and discussed our plans. We decided to stick around for another day and I would go fight more pulpo.
That evening Paloma and I were walking through the village when we ran into several kids riding their BMX bikes. They were riding wheelies and launching off the speed bump. I borrowed one of the bikes and we had an awesome sunset session. I taught them about manuals and foot jam whips. What a great time, just a bunch of kids riding bikes together.
The next morning we set off for another day of fishing. Much the same as the day before but Compa Kevin had a little more experience. We had another funny and exciting day on the water. We joked and worked, and had even more diversity in the traps.
We found: Octopus, sea snake (which can kill you if it bites) Eel, Lobster, a big puffy fish that can also do loads of damage if it pokes you.
The catch was similar to the first day, 30 kilos of pulpo. We also checked lobster traps and found four lobsters. We kept the lobster traps on board to bring back on land and store them from the next season.
An experience of a lifetime, thank God for the time, health and opportunity. The Second evening I didn’t have enough energy to ride bikes with the boys. Sorry boys.
The lobsters we did catch they gifted to Paloma and I. Four lobsters and three pulpos! It turns out that four other lobsters were given to Paloma while I was out on the water. She cooked them up into a delicious seafood salad. I swear that good seafood comes straight from the heavens. That night we stayed up far past our bedtime of 9 PM exchanging stories with Margarito and Juanita (for two nights we stayed under the palapa connected to their house).
The next morning we cooked the remaining lobster and octopus and packed up. We said our goodbyes to our new friends and left El Datil with our bellies full, bags full of food, and hearts full of happiness.