Some of the stories I heard while staying at El Muro were quite entertaining to say the least.
Evan educated me on a sailors’ love life options:
When you are a solo sailor you are perpetually looking for your next girlfriend. At which point you are so deprived of human contact that when you dock you can talk people’s ear off.
When you happily share your boat with a siren, life is good. You share everything you have with this special person. But, be warned, at the first sight of fatigue or boredom, said siren might jump ship and make another solo sailor happy. Comically enough, this is exactly what happened to Evan. When the repairs on his boat took too long, his girlfriend left him for a Catamaran!
Joel, the gentleman who drove me to the Marina, had a strong reaction when I told him that I’d never met more French than in Mexico, that I hadn’t imagined the French to be so well traveled. He exclaimed in surprise and almost affront that the French are the best sailors in the world, winning every race and inventing the latest new designs! Oh, that’s right, I seen to remember watching the exploits of some famous sailor before I moved to Canada. He was quite the national hero. When I asked Joel when he started sailing, he replied it was in 1963 on the Potomac river. As soon as he got on the boat, he knew. He fell in love and that feeling hasn’t left.
Jay, a 73 year old sailor has been moored for over a year because of health problems. He had no less that 2 heart attacks and 1 stroke. Luckily for him he is now a Permanent Resident of Mexico. He explained that if you renew your visitor’s visa for 4 years, the 5th year you automatically receive your permanent residency card, which he thought was ironically green (just like the coveted American Green Card). He told me that in order to find out what your yearly contributions to the medical system are, they only ask you one question: what type of floor do you have? If your floors are dirt or wood, you do not have to pay a thing. If it is concrete or better, your contributions will be tiered accordingly. Jay only had to pay $58 out of pocket for all the medical services he received in the last year. This Mexican green card also allows you to buy property.
Jay was full of knowledge, so I decided to ask him what type of fish the rotting carcass of which was floating between rocks nearby. It had a long narrow body like a snake. I was curious. He looked at it and said it could be 3 things – since it was missing its head it was hard to say.
It could be a Bugle fish that has a sword-like nose ending like a bugle. Don’t eat those, he says, they are slimy!
It could be a Needle fish, also with a sword-like nose but thinner like a needle. These are delicious when they are not in worming season. You’ll find out as soon as you open them. They will be full of worms the size of half a finger!
Or he says, it could be a sea snake. The sea of Cortez is full of snakes and all of them are poisonous. They usually leave people alone, but you will see them pocking out of rocks and crevices.
And, he adds , never swim in the sea of Cortez at night because of the squids. Did he just say squids? We eat squids right? They are small aren’t they? Jay continues unperturbed: squids will come up at night to feed. They will attack you eight at a time and drag you under to drown you. Their beaks are the size of a thumb and index finger joined together. It will not be a pretty death, he adds.
Evan had a good laugh at that one, saying that only in the tropics would we find sea snakes. He was pretty confident that the Sea of Cortez was too cold for snakes. Nevertheless Jay’s stories spoiled my next swim. I was afraid of stepping on a snake and was constantly looking beneath me for a gang of murderous squids wanting to try a Canadian dinner.
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Au plaisir de la route!