You’ll understand why I say this in a moment.
I was preparing our supper at our next campsite along Bahia Concepción when our new neighbors stopped by to take a look at our Cascadia roof top tent. This tent is awesome, as a means for shelter, but even more awesome as an icebreaker. Every day, somebody comes by to check it out and we meet some pretty special people because of it.
On this particular night we met Jen, Greg and his brother Arnold. They are from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco along the coast. It is also where Darryl and I had our first date and where we were married 16 years later. So the town holds a pretty special place for us.
We chatted with them about the tent and then generally about life in the bay area. Greg and Jen are both retired from the hectic work life of 8 am – 9 pm that doesn’t seem to stop even then since, with the magic of technology, we are available for meetings with our international counterparts all over the globe at all hours of the day and night. This is the life that Darryl and I are leaving behind and we’re hoping to find a new home with a slower pace, a great outdoor playground and a friendly vibe.
As we’re chatting, Greg generously offers up his kayaks for us to take onto the bay the next day since they won’t be using them. We were amazed that these people that we just met would be so trusting of us! Imagine that happening in the Bay Area. I doubt that it would. But in this topsy-turvy world of camping that Darryl and I just entered, this is how people treat each other!
So Darryl and I have only kayaked a couple of times so we were a little hesitant about using someone’s kayak that we just met. We thanked them but told them that we didn’t have enough experience. They told us that if we changed our minds, the kayaks would be there for us. They left us to our dinner and invited us to stop by later to hang out some more. We spent a couple of hours chatting with them while watching the little fishes jump along the shore.
The next morning, Arnold came by after breakfast to show me some beautiful wasps hanging out on the date palm blossoms.
He offered to take us out on the kayaks. Given the beautiful day with no winds, a glassy bay and our enthusiastic guide, how could we refuse!? I put on my sunscreen, and we grabbed our cameras and headed out onto the bay with Arnold.
First we got comfortable and learned how to paddle in unison. We did pretty well and were able navigate the kayak without much trouble. We spotted some pelicans sunning themselves along the rocks. They were so calm, letting us approach to within a few feet of them.
We were pretty comfortable on the water so we ventured further out to the mangroves along a jetty across the narrow inlet. Arnold told us that oysters grew along here. I jumped out of the kayak into the shallow water to harvest a few oysters growing along the mangrove roots being careful to shuffle my feet, like Arnold said, to spook any stingrays that might be resting on the bay floor. The night before, Greg and Jen both shared stories with us about their encounters with stingrays and how painful the sting can be. I definitely didn’t want to add that to my list of experiences on this trip! By the way, if you do happen to get stung by a stingray, pour hot water over the sting; as hot as you can possibly tolerate. This will neutralize the pain.
We pulled the kayaks up onto the narrow jetty and enjoyed the view. There were rows and rows of pelicans enjoying it as well.
We noticed hundreds of birds and pelicans diving into the waters just off the other side and Arnold thought it would be great to get into the midst of the action. A couple of fishermen tried their luck at the spot but came up with nothing and moved on.
We carried our kayaks to the other side and headed over to the feast.
While we were in the midst of the pelicans, a commercial fishing boat showed up. We were intrigued by what they were doing and I caught some of it on my camera. At the time, we were clueless about the details of what we were witnessing. We later learned that the larger boat was a table seiner and what we were witnessing was seine fishing.
What is amazing about all of this, an underscores the title of this post, is that we learned about seine fishing from a Canadian who was a retired commercial fisherman. We met him about 2 weeks after our kayaking experience. What are the odds of that happening!? Darryl started to explain to him what we saw and I went and pulled out my computer to show him the video. He was so excited to explain to us how the table seiner worked and then went to get his computer to show us some more examples of seiners. Oh, and the reason we started chatting with him was because he came over to check our our tent. Like I said before, it’s our perfect icebreaker!!
So here are a few of the details about what I have in these videos.
When the table seiner first approached its fishing spot, it laid the net out in a circle. The net was piled on top of the flat section (or table) of the seiner and as the seiner made its way along the circle, the net would drop into the water. They close the loop and then begin this pounding racket that we could hear over the loudspeaker. This noise scares the fish into the nets and all throughout this process you see these sea birds feasting on the fish being drawn into the nets.
There was a second, smaller boat, attached to the seiner by a long rope. This is called a power skiff which pulls against the seiner, preventing it from tipping over as it hauls in its catch, also called brailing. They were using a purse seine to draw up the net. You can see this in the next video where you see nets hanging from hooks from the boat. A hook is dipped into the water that draws up part of the net which creates a sort of purse, trapping the fish inside of it. This continues until all of the net is drawn up out of the water with the catch.
Back to our kayaking day, we returned to shore then Arnold shucked the oysters that I harvested earlier. They were my first oysters and very tasty.
After our lovely morning with Arnold we drove over to Santa Rosalia for a little sightseeing, grocery shopping and a quick lunch. The town was first established as a small fishing village and its claim to fame is a church that was designed by Alexander Gustave Eiffel, who also designed the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, I wasn’t inspired to take any photos so I can only provide you a link to it on Bajabound.
And that was our wonderful adventure in San Lucas and Santa Rosalia along the Baja Peninsula.