Sailing the Sea of Cortez is like sailing on another planet. Cherry-colored-cactus-flower-desert-mountains pile up past the clouds, plateau into mesas, then drop down into seafoam water that’s as smooth and transparent as sea glass. And there are sirens and mega-toothed monsters and THIS is my Shangri La.
The sun shines 320 days of the year here and it once took its zenith among the crabs…the Tropic of Cancer is near. My body likes being close to this Tropic. My Zodiac is tropical and if our planets were to touch, you would discover this; my sun is a crab, my moon is a bull, my Venus has got an evil twin, 6 of me is masculine, 4 of me is feminine, 4 of me is air, 3 of me is water, 2 of me is fire, 1 of me is earth, most of me is mutable, and sometimes my sky breaks wide open and all my stars fall down. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I was a fat kid and I think it’s because I grew up landlocked, so I overate on account of being surrounded by too much earth and earth just ain’t my element.
Anyway, I’m in the thick of my element now….these islands are almost empty. I love places that feel like this. Places with more sea and air than earth. Idyllic places. Natural places. Unpopulated places. Places with soft sounds. Places where newness never gets stale and spirits never settle. This landscape is as harsh as it is soft and there’s a magic here too. One I can’t describe. One that won’t let you hide. One that unearths all the ugly and the pretty that’s inside of you, then let’s you decide which parts you want to keep.
The big cat is easier to sail than I thought it would be. Nurse Tequila and John David help me hoist the main and everyone takes turns when it comes to dropping the hook. We all smell like sunscreen and glow with suntans. Some days are cold, but still I love the way the sea feels all over me. When I am soaked, like this, I bubble. And it’s clear to all, from my bubbling, that I’m not insane, but I’m not sane either, so I don’t know what that makes me… this is just me on the sea, and the sea is my element.
This is our journey, down to the day…
Sunday: We Depart Costa Baja Marina. I don’t dare take the cat out of the slip, I let Carlos do that, ‘cause the dock is the most dangerous place on the water, if you ask me. Plus, I accidentally left my eyeglasses on Juniper, so I’ve been half-blind during the second-strain of the virus. When the sun slides down, my vision slides right on with it. OBJECTS IN EYEBALLS MAY BE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.
Anyway, we pass Steven Spielberg’s boat and it’s made of royal jelly. I see every single one of the sun’s rays and they’re all yellow rainbows. We’re at the mouth of the channel. Carlos hops off and dinghies away. I’m alone at the helm of the spaceship. I keep my cool. I hear the song of the bluegrass Pharaoh and brace myself for some sort of renaissance. I see big ships waiting offshore to drop loads off. I see plastic whatnots marking the fish nets. I see a lighthouse on top of a sea-lion covered rock. I see shores with white sand beaches. A lot of white sand is made from parrotfish poop. 85% of it in some places. The fish eat coral reef then poop out sand. I don’t think most people realize that they’re rolling around half-naked in fish poop. God must have been high on the sea when sand got created.
Stop 1– PLAYA CANDELERO- There are pyramid rocks shooting up out of the water. Boats are flying. It’s a circus. We could have one H-E- double L of a party here, if we wanted to. But there’s too much to see on this new planet. Some of us snorkel, some of us paddle-board. I stare at little fish and soft corals and imagine a world of megalodon’s (ancient giant shark). The stop is short but sweet, we move on.
Stop 2- ENSENADA GRANDE- We set anchor around sunset. The cliffs are steep and the wind is a pipe that’s blowing smoke down my neck with a heavy breath. We eat red fish, drink Mezcal, and dance. I set an anchor alarm. It goes off all night long. I don’t sleep, not a wink. The boat is getting tossed this way and that. I’m up and down and running around. The night’s as dark as a belly and I can’t tell where I was in relationship to where I am. Waves are slapping the hulls. I’m in the midst of the Coromuel winds. Shoot ‘em up, catdaddy. I’m gonna gush about these winds more someday in the future, when truth has grown the roots of figment and they are blowing so many knots that they broke all the robots.
Monday: We depart Ensenada Grande. I am moving like a slug on a thorn. We pass Isla Lobos. It’s several small islands, that look like drip castles. A colony of sea lions rules the roost there. I’m afraid to get too close. I don’t want to hurt them. We watch them through binoculars, from afar. I can hear them. Together they sound like the aching screams of a thousand women who’ve been eclipsed by a love, a love so tender that they can’t ever empty their heads of it.
We sail four hours more. I drink coco water that taste like suntan lotion and watch the green shadows dance on the hillsides. I see a sphinx in the desert-rock-mountain landscape.
Stop 1– ISLA SAN FRANCISCO- If I was going to send you a postcard to make your eyes melt, it would be of this place. The beach is so wide and empty that voices get lost and fall flat. We find fish skeletons along the shore. Heads with jagged reef-cutting teeth. We hike a ridge to the desert mountain top. It’s steep and loose. Up at the top, white wildflowers blow in the wind and the bay looks like a pond where giants skip boats like rocks. The other side is a drop of doom that nobody could even crawl down. Gives me the willies just looking at it. I stub my toe somewhere. It’s the color of a grape. It might be broken. If I spend too much time looking either up or down, I miss everything. EVERYTHING.
We are out of water. I start the generator and make some. It doesn’t work at first, then it over-works…you can’t trust the robots, ever! They’ll say something’s at 50% when really, it’s at 120%. The next thing you know, you’ve accidentally made a fountain and it’s coming out of your floorboards.
We eat blue fish for dinner. The sunset is apricot. It’s a new moon and we manifest. Anything you desire, can be yours, if you believe that it can. If you want it, without needing it. If you’re grateful for what you’ve already got.
A sadness overtakes me and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s my toe. Maybe it’s the moon. Maybe it’s because aboard this cat, I have to always be “on” and when I squirm, I can’t really show anybody that I’m squirming. I gotta bottle it up, keep it deep down inside, next to the place that always drizzles a little. I gotta be the skipper, engineer, tourist guide, mechanic, electrician, and robot lover. I gotta be a lot. I take time to myself. I read. I rest. I let it pass.
Tuesday: The morning catches fire and blooms all kinds of blue and pink on the white sands of the crescent beach…….
TO BE CONTINUED…….
3 Replies to “THE TROPIC OF CANCER”
Olivia, it sounds like it is such a wondrous place! With each sentence I read, I feel as if my mind paints a beautiful picture of the event ms as they unfold! I hope your tie is feeling better and I’m hoping you’ve got your eyeglasses back, now, because that will mean you’re back with Juniper! Can’t wait for the next part of your story on the Sea of Cortez — and for your next journey with Juniper! ~Chelle xo P.. I can’t see what I’m typing because my phone display is cutting off what I write in this reply form; I hope it turns out – guess I’ll have to just press post comment and see what we get! 😀
Ok, now I see what I wrote after posting— should be toe, not ‘tie.’ ? I think you’ll still get the gist despite other typos, too ?
I’d never really thought much about this place, this Sea of Cortez (or, por decirlo así, “the Gulf of California.”) I had to have a closer look on Earth. Wow, so many places to duck into, so many coves and islets . . . and sea lions! So much to see . . . so little time.