Honeymoon – Day 3

Honeymoon – Day 3

My version:

The morning started off pretty hairy…we woke up at 5:00 a.m. to find the electricity wasn\’t working for most of the suite. Only the main room lamps and clock seemed to be working. This meant that there was no hot water since it apparently was heated by electricity……and to make matters worse, after five minutes of standing in a luke warm shower, the water stopped running! I had forgotten that an electrical pump was needed to get the water to the rooms. We made the best of it, though.

Once our box lunches that we ordered were delivered, we caught a cab with another couple to CSL to the marina where we were catching a fishing boat. I figured out boat was on the low end of the scale because of the price, but I never dreamed how small it was! More than just small, it didn\’t look like it was sea-worthy enough to withstand the Pacific ocean as far out as I expected us to go. It wasn\’t until we were underway that I noticed……NO LIFE PRESERVERS! Oh God!…what did I get us in to? (Note: Don\’t ever book a fishing excursion on a boat called a Panga!) Battling the choppy Pacific along with our churning stomachs, we managed to catch 3 yellowfin tuna within 15 minutes of casting lines…..then nothing. The Dramamine finally kicked in and both of us alternated between falling asleep and holding on for dear life. Every time I woke up, we were farther and farther away from land. Of course it came to the point where I had to relieve myself…..my body was just not going to wait until we returned to land and had facilities! I had no choice but to wrap a towel around me, pull aside a pant leg on my shorts, and try to aim for a bucket. My only other option was to get naked from the waist down and I wasn\’t about to bare my bottom to some unknown Mexican! Thank goodness I had the towel…..my aim wasn\’t very good. After a couple of hours, we had our fill and asked to be taken back in early…which was a good thing because the water was so choppy, it took another coupled of hours to get back in! Going back was another adventure…we battle rolling waves so big, many sloshed over the sides of the boat. we were accumulating a lot of water and the Mexican would use a cut off milk jug to try and bail some of it out. We were also heading into the waves, more or less, so we were also getting pretty wet. By the time we made it to shore, we both felt like a salt lick! We were very surprised to find we weren\’t even burned by the sun.

When we got back to the hotel, the chef prepared some of our tuna for our lunch. Some boy from the dock had already cleaned it for us. After lunch, we took a siesta….William much longer than I. I got up to get my in-room Swedish massage I had ordered. It was the best massage I ever got! I was feeling so relaxed!……a marked improvement over the stress I felt a week before.

That evening, we headed back into CSL for a sunset cruise on a \”pirate\” ship. The 110\’ wooden sailboat was built in 1885. I had ordered the excursion as a treat for William…….I knew he loved wooden sail boats and thought he would enjoy a relaxing evening sailing around the area….specifically Lover\’s Beach and the famous Arch at Land\’s End. When we got back from the cruise, we had lobster and shrimp for dinner before returning to the hotel. When I got back, I found that my dirty laundry had been washed and folded, and was placed in a basket in my closet. I could get really used to this pampering!

His version:

“Red alert!  Red alert!  All hands man your battle stations!”  The siren wailed like a hippo in heat as I raced for the bridge and tried to ignore a sudden rush of nausea.  Sailors slammed themselves against the bulkhead as I passed.  Cries of “Gangway!” and “Make a hole!” preceded me onto the bridge, where the pilot and watch officers hurried to bring the ship’s systems up to full readiness.  The executive officer turned as I approached.  “Honey,” she said, “can you get that?”

“Say again, Number One?” I asked, my eyes on the main plot.  Relayed from the CIC, it showed half-a-dozen bogeys and two possible submerged contacts on intercept vectors.  My exec elaborated.

“The alarm,” she mumbled, “Get the alarm.”  Her voice was strangely indistinct.  She reached across my chest and groped for something on the far wall.  I opened my eyes as she found the off button on the clock radio.  The alarm died with merciful swiftness.  A dim light was already leaking through the curtains on the glass door, and I could see the ceiling fan, unmoving against the white ceiling.  Anita rolled out of bed.  Deprived of her support, I flopped bonelessly onto my belly and drifted back towards the arms of Morpheus.  My crew needed me.

“What the fuck?” came the cry from the bathroom.  I roused myself enough to mumble an interrogative.  It seems that the lights in the bathroom were not working.  By now I could tell by the tone in my new wife’s voice that I would not be getting much more sleep so I rolled over and resigned myself to wakefulness.  As I stared at the ceiling, I noticed that the ceiling fan was still.  Absent, too, was the ever-present hum of the air-conditioning.  In fact, there seemed to be no electricity in the entire room except for the bedside tables.  A quick call to the front desk confirmed that there was a brownout for the entire hotel and that they had been working since early this morning to fix the problem.  Okay, no big deal…except that electricity seems to be a vital ingredient in the Mexican recipe for water pressure.  This Anita discovered in the midst of her shower.  I don’t know the details; I merely made note of some of her more colorful expletives for later use.  She sounded like a fisherman already, to me.

The power outage did not seem to slow room service, who delivered our breakfast and boxed lunches right on time at 5:30am.  Perfect French toast with banana compote and sweet cream as well as a plate of tropical fruit, including The World’s Best Mangos.  Yum!

Half an hour later we swallowed some Dramamine caught a taxi to the marina where our fishing boat awaited.  We walked down a long pier past a dozen classic marlin-fishing boats to our “panga”, a small outboard-driven thing that I judged just barely able to brave the Sea of Cortez… on a calm day.  It wasn’t until we were underway that I noticed a disturbing lack of life jackets.  Red alert.  Note to self: next time, get a bigger boat.

The view from the water is spectacular and, with the little outboard screaming along at full throttle, we were soon well out from shore.  Soon our guide, an uncommunicative fellow given to taking the steering wheel off and fiddling with it, set to putting out the lines.  No sooner was the second (of four) in the water than the first one hit.  He set the hook and handed me the pole.  Feeling much like the Great White Hunter being handed his gun after the tiger is already trapped in the pit, I took the rod and reeled in our catch.  It was a yellowfin tuna, about 10 or 15 pounds, and it was at this point that I discovered the flaw in my analogy: tuna are not tigers.  In fact, they are more like the cows of the sea (or maybe cows are the tuna of the land?).  The fish struggled a bit as I reeled him in, but not nearly so valiantly as the same weight of, say, fresh-water bass would have.  It was as if he was saying “I wish you wouldn’t do this…really!  Oh, all right then!  If you must…”  Our guide dutifully gaffed the fish and bashed him on the head three or four times with a cutoff axe handle before tossing him in the compartment under one seat.  The familiarity with which he handled his club made me slightly uneasy.  I found excuses to keep my back to the water for the rest of the trip.

Anita was disappointed because she had no film in the camera and therefore missed getting pictures of me reeling a manly fish.  I was sorry, too, mainly because the yellowfin is truly a beautiful fish, with blue-silver scales and a great yellow stripe down its midline.  It’s lines are very sharp, causing Anita to remark that it looked more like a work of artifice than a product of nature.  “Robofish”, she called it.

We must have dropped our lines directly over a school of tuna, however, because we got another hit right away.  As before, our guide handed me the line and I began reeling the beastie in.  Just as I started, however, another fish took a line on the other side of the boat and Anita got her own chance to yank one of God’s creatures from the ocean.  Our guide was busy for the next few minutes, beating the living hell out of a pair of very surprised-looking tuna and stowing them with their unlucky fellow below the seat.  When the dust settled, we had three tuna and Anita had been too busy to take any pictures.

Our guide must have decided that this was too much work, since after the third fish we took off on a troll around the Sea of Cortez.  This was the point at which our luck ran out.  Two hours later we had drug our lines over a significant chunk of water with not a single bite.  I pictured a school of unhappy tuna working together to attach a flashing red light to the underside of our boat as a warning to other fish.  After two hours of waves and sun, Anita and I were both nodding off as the Dramamine lulled us to sleep, so we decided to call it a day.  Besides, we already had more fish than we could possibly eat.

The trip back was much rougher than the way in.  We hit several waves broadside, sending water cascading over the gunwales and yours truly.  Our guide bailed occasionally with a cutoff milk jug, but I was still a happy camper indeed to reach the wharf.  I sent the fish off to be filleted, completely forgetting about pictures, while Anita shopped at the market nearby.  Six serious fillets and several bizarre souvenirs later, we caught a taxi back to the hotel.

On our arrival back at the hotel, we turned our fillets over to the chef, who split one and prepared it for our lunch while we washed the salt crystals from our bodies and hair.  By the time lunch arrived, however, my stomach was reminding me that I had introduced it to a whole host of new microorganisms.  Because of this, I was not in a great position to appreciate our finely-prepared catch.  Anita says it was wonderful and, from the few bites I managed, I would have to rate it as “not bad at all.”  I drank a hefty amount of bottled water and collapsed into the cool sheets for a stomach siesta.

Apparently my stomach is stronger than I’d thought, since it recovered quite nicely during my nap and was politely inquiring about dinner when I woke up.  Dinner, I reminded it, would come in due course.  Before that, however, there was the pirate cruise!

We tossed on some clothes and taxied back to the wharf near the fishing fleet where the pirate vessel was waiting.  A hundred-ten foot schooner, she was built in 1885 and was originally designed to fish the North Atlantic.  She still has the original diesel motor with which she was retrofitted in the 1930s, and makes a slow booming like a giant waltzing belowdecks when she is under power.  The crew was all dressed like extras from Captain Blood (not inappropriate, since the ship was apparently used in filming a recent remake of Captain’s Courageous) and have no compunctions about scampering up the rigging and hamming it up for the tourists.  They also seem quite efficient at rigging the sails, belaying lines, and all the other–much more serious–duties of a sailing seaman.  The ship also carried two cannon, which the crew would fire at the other tour boats at odd intervals.  Beer and tequila flowed freely among the passengers, but the most intoxicating thing was the simple sensation of heeling over at eight knots under sail.  The boat is beautiful and I found myself wanting one of my own.  Note to self: get stinking rich.

With the sun sinking below the mountains and the other tour boats riddled with cannonfire, we pulled smoothly into dock and disembarked.  Anita and I settled on a restaurant in downtown Cabo San Lucas for dinner, The Shrimp Factory.  There we had a shrimp and fish platter with plenty of cocktail and tartar sauces.  Personally, I have always thought tartar sauce to be one of the vilest substances on the planet, but Anita seemed to like it.  We did make one mistake when we seated ourselves, however, which was to sit at a streetside window.  Street vendors hawking everything, from plates to jewelry to flowers, constantly interrupted our meal.  I found myself wondering how to say “burn in hell” in Spanish.

After dinner we wandered the main drag, checking out the shops and watching the people.  As we wandered, we ran across a family from Alaska whom we had met earlier on the pirate cruise.  They were all sitting on the curb outside the Cabo San Lucas KFC.  They munched their fried chicken cheerfully and told us stories of their vacation for a while before we parted company.  They were nice folks, but I know what KFC chicken does to my stomach back home.  The thought of Mexican KFC was enough to make me tremble in fear.

Eventually, we caught a taxi back to the Palmilla and snuggled down together.  Anita rubbed my back.  Maybe this marriage thing isn’t so bad after all.

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