Prickley BeachBall

Los Cabos Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 38 › view all entries
        So I decide that today, I am not going to do much work, so I do my regular paddle, go down to the rocks, see the naked guy but he is with someone else and their playing soccer so it is not that disturbing, try and paddle through some rocks, attempt something stupid and nearly kill myself (described below if you want to know, but not part of the main theme of this entry), think about how I should really be wearing a helmet, and then head home again. 
        So on my way home I notice this thing that looks like a volley ball being pushed up and down the beach by the waves and it was being chased by a very cautious seagull.  The scenario went a little something like this: the seagull would peck at this out of place volley ball until a wave would come crashing up the shore, the seagull would retreat a few steps as the ball was pushed up the shore, the ball would then roll back down towards the ocean a couple of feet, and then come to a rest, the gull would then cautiously approach, standing tall with its head completely turned to the side taking in the whole event through one eye, get a few pecks in, then run away before the next wave came crashing in.  I watched this for a about a minute, and something about the whole event seemed a little out of place, so I decided to check it out.
        As I approached, I noticed that there was sort of hazy halo around the actual body of the ball and there appeared some material slowly moving its sides.  As I came closer, my greatest hopes came true, it was an fully inflated puffer fish!!! I pulled ashore on a soft wave and pulled my kayak above the water line. Being the novice that I was, approached the fish from above.  I stared in to the wide eyes of this desperate creature just as a wave came crashing in and launched the fish directly at my legs.  Luckily I have spiderman like reflexes and was able to jump over the prickly pisces just before he stuck me in the shins, and with my natural tendencies for survival, I instinctively turned just to make sure he didn't come rolling back down to strike me from behind.  After he settled, I again stared into his eyes and decided this guy needs some help, so I took my paddle and attempted to roll him down to the surf.  Well I gave him a good push and he rolled, head over tall, about a half a foot, and then laid there with sand now covering both of his eyelidless eyes and his open mouth.  It was a pretty sad sight and I couldn't help but feel partially responsible.  I decided to give it a better effort.  Making sure a large wave wasn't coming, I used my paddle to scoop up the bit of sand he was laying on and attempted to hurl him into the sea. Well of course with my dearth of experience hurling puffer fish into the ocean on kayak paddles, the fish fell to the beach on my back swing. Again he sat there, his fins undulating slowly with his eyes, mouth and now gills, completely covered in sand.  A little frustrated, but undeterred, I scooped him up again, made sure I wasn't going to drop him, hurled him a good five feet into the surf, and then watched him wash back on to the shore.  I decided if this guy has any chance of survival, he has to get beyond the waves. 
        Being the bleeding heart liberal that I am, I scooped him and his sand up, plopped them on my kayak (which is not designed to carry an adult human and a fully inflated puffer fish, believe me) somehow made it past the waves without him crashing into my back, and headed out to sea.  Once I had made it to a satisfactory distance past the break, I reached backed with my paddle, and nudged him in to the crystal clear waters of Cortez.  Hoping to enjoy the satisfaction of my efforts I paddled my kayak around to watch my swollen seamate begin life anew, but instead he just floated... and floated...and floated.  I don't know if it was my continual presence or the events of the last twenty minutes that prevented him from letting down his defenses, but this guy wasn't going anywhere. 
        Now I am not familiar with the life cycles of puffer fish, but I do know that in some gift shops in Cabo and elsewhere, you can buy dead, dried, fully inflated puffer fish, which could be a cool gift or perhaps and fun memento from one of life silly follies. Now I always thought this inflated position was a postmortem manipulation by the taxidermist, but heck, what do I know.  So I come to the conclusion that if this fish is going to die fully inflated, I am going to try and make the most of it and keep its body.  I paddle over to the fish, lift him by the tail, and attempt to place him in the boat.  Now the tail is short and slimy and the fish is rather heavy, making this another daring task as the waves rolled under my kayak, but fortunately, it all happened without event.  As I paddle home with the fish in the middle of my Kayak and my legs over the sides, the fish begins to deflate.  Now I'm afraid it's is going to shrink down to a size in can start flapping around and really do some damage to me with my legs spread wide. 
         I safely make it to shore with the fish still partially inflated, get out, face the sea, tilt my kayak so the fish plops back onto the shore just as the next wave comes crashing in launching the fish at me once again, but this time I just ran like a little girl. After he had settled, I scoop him up one more time, threw him into the sea, and watched him slowly deflate and swim, somewhat successfully back into the abyss.  I'm pretty sure he died though; he didn't look that good.  

Stupid thing I did on the paddle this time:  I like to go between the rocks and time it just right with the waves, so I have the best ride possible.  Well one thing I tried to do was ride the surf in around a rock that normally doesn't have water all the way around, only "on the swell" (when the wave washes in.)  After doing some other routes rather successfully, I saw one that looked pretty manageable but did have a steep shore line which means the water hits it pretty hard.  So I time it just about right and try and make it around this rock on the swell, but the rock extended a good 3 to 4ft further than I had anticipated.  I get about a foot and half from the turn and the draw (when a wave recedes) kicks in.  Well, I'm paddling  right against this rock, water is running back in the ocean, and large wave is cresting right behind me, ready to either roll my kayak or flip it over the rock.  Well I just jump ship, run up on shore, watch my kayak get flipped over, and collect my stuff after a few more rough waves kick it around and think about what could have been.  It was scary but I'll probably try it again. 

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Los Cabos
photo by: monky