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Heading South.

March 1, 2008

After a couple of days in Cancun we were picked up by a driver from the fly-fishing lodge in the Sian Ka’an biosphere and headed south. This biosphere consists of over a million acres and is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean with 103 known mammal species and 336 known bird species. Sian Ka’an” is translated from Mayan to mean “where the sky is born” or “gift from the sky.” After arriving at the lodge and quickly settling into this beautiful place next to the ocean (it barely survived last August’s hurricane), we went to bed early as N was chomping at the bit to go fly-fishing the following day.

Our home away from home.

And its “accoutrements.”

About as close to the water as we could be.

N and his guide at (on) the front of the boat.

Some mangrove “detritus” making sculptural forms in the flats.

Mangroves in the water.

So, picture this: puffy cumulus clouds interspersed with lightly scattered stratocumulus; all partially covering a baby blue sky. Below lies the lagoon, seeming more like the open ocean except for mangroves to one side, and exhibiting colors no color chart has ever displayed: pale yellow green to teal to azure, back to a green I can only describe by saying it looks like a nuclear plant has dumped its waste into the water. A green I call day-glo, its unreal or surreal quality stopping one’s eyes in mid-glance. (It does remind me a little of the color of Mountain Dew.) A pelican is perched on top of a lopped off mangrove trunk that once, before last August’s hurricane, had been a branching, leafing tree. A gentle breeze clips the air; the warm sun wakens my skin as I sit in the boat in “paradise” and watch.

“Bonefish at 11 o’clock,” the guide D shouts out. “Cast, cast, cast; now strip, strip, WAIT……..wait he’s coming,” says D. “Got him,” replies N as he carefully starts to reel in the glistening, iridescent, slender bonefish until it’s alongside the boat. At which time N leans over the side and carefully takes the de-barbed hook out of the fish’s mouth, then watches as it swim away. This procedure and these lines are repeated umpteen times during the course of the day. On one occasion a bonefish swallowed the hook which couldn’t be removed, so the fish was returned to the water hook still in place. I griped and moaned about the wrongness of all this, how we all needed to be more compassionate toward all creatures (my usual soapbox speech), when out of nowhere came a small shark who in one gulp snarfed down the fish, hook and all, as two frigate birds glided by.

Copyright © 2008

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