Monday, January 20, 2014

The sea of life

The last couple of days in Lo de Marcos have been dominated pretty much by what happens in and around the sea. Being a coastal town does help, but it's not everywhere you can see whales from your lazy armchair at the beach, let alone a whole family of them with calves! If that isn't enough, there were 95 turtles to be released… and let's not forget the continuous airshow presented by the pelicans. The sea seems to provide life for just about everything and anything.

The pelicans here are strange birds. They are pretty much strange everywhere, but here they do something I haven't seen before. Pelicans in Australia are lazy buggers. They float around with there beak open, waiting for a fish to swim into it. Some of them are even lazier and hang around the jetty waiting for fishermen to throw the fish scraps into their beak. I'm not kidding, they must be one of the most laid-back birds I've ever seen. Here in Mexico they dive for fish…! From heights as much as 20 metres they slam on the handbrake and plunge into the water like an incoming missile. How they manage to do it without breaking their neck and wings is a mystery. It's spectacular to see, but it must be the most painful way to fish I have ever seen. It's also the most energy consuming version of fishing I think. 

A couple of the local pelicans have found another way of fishing, they skim over the water at speed and simply point their beak in the water when they see a fish. When the open beak hits the water, it comes to an immediate halt while the rest of the bird is still going…! They crash-land hard! Another daily airshow is presented by the many frigate birds that roam the skies. Unlike the pelicans, they steal food from other birds and occasionally scoop their own fish out of the water. They seem to be roaming the skies for ours, gliding through it without a single flap of their wings.

A couple of days ago there was a watershow too. A family of about 8 whales were cruising through the bay. Mauricio, a young man with a whale watching boat came running onto the beach, after Dick on the campsite had called him and made his boat ready to go out straight away. Of course Jeanette jumped at the chance! Seeing whales from close-up had been on her wish list for years. Mike and me don't have sea-stomaches and thus stayed ashore (to avoid all that green 'stuff' around the boat). They went away for more
than 45 minutes, cruising next to the whales! She saw the whole family from close-up. 

It was a bit choppy out there so making photos wasn't easy. But she still managed to make some good pictures of them! Mauricio, who has taken many people out to see the whales, was clearly impressed too. He had seen many before, but a whole family and this close was also very special to him and said they had been very lucky to see this!

Lo de Marcos has many fishermen, one of them we've come to know quite well. He is always smiling, has a cargo type tricycle, also known as a 'riciclo de carga' in Spanish, and in short is a very nice guy. Officially his name is Alfredo, but everyone knows him as Memin… Finding out why he's actually called Memin wasn't easy as no-one seemed to know. Memin is an old Mexican comic book character, dark and somewhat tubby. Alfredo got the nickname as a little boy so I must assume there was a resemblance. (Right: the original Memin from 1958)

Memin at work
After the recent flooding (see post on that here), Memin had found a washed up nest full of tortoise eggs in the lagoon nearby. Just about every sea turtle species known on earth nests on Mexico’s beaches luckily there are tough turtle protection laws. 
Memin took the washed up eggs home and incubated them. Yesterday they were ready to be released and they couldn't have done it in a better way. The local kids were all lined up on the beach and were given a little turtle each for them to release. What a great idea, and what a special moment to see al these little creatures 'flippering' towards the sea!
Later at night the beach is full of little crabs. They're almost half transparent and run around so fast that it's hard not to stand on them. Funny
Of course the sea also provides fishermen their daily meals. Dorado is somewhat of a local favourite and a big fish! Several people can eat from one. Bandito, the local cat that keeps the park free from stray dogs, enjoys sea life too! When the boys get the boat out to go fishing, Bandito goes with them in the front of the boat until they reach the beach where he waits for hours for them to return! No wonder when you see what they give him, have you ever seen a cat eat a fish this big?