Friday, January 8, 2016

Blowing In The Wind

                                                            Blowing In The Wind
            This morning a rainbow arched over Bird Island and plunged into the rocks at the southern edge, the most intense rainbow I’ve seen in years. I sat at the window-wall in our 21st floor suite at the resort and watched for half an hour, just watched the rainbow. Eventually the rainbow extended a perfect reflection onto the Pacific mirror, creating a three-quarter circle.

            Sandra, the current hurricane of our prolific Pacific series, huffed and puffed off the coast earlier this week. We in Mazatlan yawned with complacency. Every other storm, in this summer of hurricanes, landed either north or south or fizzled out mid-ocean. The long arm of Baja protects this part of the Mexican coast.

            Sandra romped through the numbers to a Category 4 Hurricane and back down again to a blow-hard tropical storm when she hit mainland, dead center at Mazatlan. She wasn’t supposed to do that, fickle woman.

            Kathy and I stockpiled water and kept our passports handy in case of an evacuation order but we were never in danger. A little wind, a fair rain, and Sandra fizzled into the hills. The worst effect for us two vacationing women was having no beach time. This is day five of no beach and the first day the resort has taken down the barriers denying guests beach access.

            The waters are dangerous with under-toads and extremely strong back wash. A handful of invincible young people, fueled with joy juice, venture into the foam, only to be whistled back to land by the life guards.

            Yesterday a school of large fish were feeding a few hundred yards off the beach. Today hundreds of manta rays roil the water in a frenzy, right up to the edge of the surf. We watch from above. Manta rays are huge, from five and a half to seven meters across. It is a rare treat to see one. This feast for our eyes is a direct result of the hurricane bringing deep water species into shore.

            On my first vacation in Mazatlan, Elias, a parasail beach vendor, dubbed me “Mexican Sandra”, given the Spanish pronunciation of my English-origin name. He said Sandra is a Spanish name. This bit only marginally relates to the hurricane, to explain that I felt like we shared both name and characteristics of being quick to action but easily gentled.

            Even at high tide the water separating the mainland and Bird Island is shallow. From above this morning the sea is tropical turquoise. The rocks I know to be there leave dark patches of shadow. In very low tides, the rocks are above water. We haven’t seen these rocks in three or four years.  Low tides have ventured elsewhere, maybe on holiday in India.

            Though sitting on the beach under the palapa is not an option, there is plenty to keep us entertained. This morning, along with sight-seeing the rainbow and manta rays, we watched runners in the Gran Maraton Pacifico, an annual event since 1999.  The Mazatlan race is now rated among the top ten in the world and is limited to twelve thousand contenders. It is joy to watch both athletes and ordinary runners, even people like you and me. The participants rolling wheel chairs, others shambling on crutches, blind runners led by companions, all bring tears to my eyes. We clap and shout encouragement from our vantage point on an overhead bridge.

            Tonight we returned from a jaunt to Cerritos Point where we selected a corvine fresh from the ocean. In half an hour our fish was plunked between us, tail hanging over the platter, on a bed of lettuce, surrounded by tomatoes, cucumber slices, limes and salsa, served with a pile of tortillas. It doesn’t get any better than this. We watched the sunset and returned home full, tired and covered with grit of sand and salt.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

December 3, 2015

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