Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm on a boat, Part 5: Madness.


At some point along the Mobius Loop of Food I lost track of time and place.  We stayed in Cabo longer than originally planned because of recent drug cartel-related violence in Mazatlan, which would have been the next port of call.  The unfortunate Mazatlanders no doubt took an economic hit for our absence.


The bay at Cabo increasingly became filled with nonsensical acitivity.

Is that a submarine? Madness!

For the last half-day I remained on the boat ship and shook my head at it all.

Extreme madness.

I hate these things.  Do they not epitomize madness?

A source of much of the madness was an enemy ship.

Story time: I have been to Cabo before, but not on a boat, and I never got to the bay.  I got to a hospital.  This was back when I was a young grad-student, and I joined an expedition to sample (i.e., selectively  kill) the unique herpetofauna of the Baja Peninsula.   Our journey began in Ensenada, and over a couple of weeks we worked our way down the sere and rugged landscape of Baja California, collecting in arroyos by day, and along still-warm blacktop at night.  We rarely slept, and had barely enough food to provide the energy necessary to clamber up and down rock faces, which is probably why one day I lost my footing on a sloping rock face and fell a considerable distance down the side of an arroyo.  I bounced on rocks, and fell further.  I ended up on a pile of scree with a bruised femur, a broken elbow and my fingertips all raw and bloody from the fearful slide before the fall.

What was I doing before I lost my footing?

Trying to shoot one of these guys.  A Baja Blue Rock lizard (genus Petrosaurus), a kind of phrynosomatid ( and not at all closely related to the Bermuda Rock Lizard, a type of scincid I later went on to study--and not once attempted to shoot.)

I was broken, the rear sight was knocked off the gun, effectively breaking it, but my trusty Minolta SLR survived unscathed.

Here's a different Baja lizard, an iguanid, genus Ctenosaura.  Note that the man holding it is on an angle.  This was ten minutes after I had broken my elbow.  I was unable to hold the camera properly. 

The hospital I was taken to was small and ill-equipped, but festive.  Neighbourhood children attended the X-raying of the Tourista.  The fracture was at the proximal end of the radius, and a plaster cast probably wouldn't have helped.  So, arm in a sling, off I went, back on the hunt for herps.  Later that night, on a blacktop road in the ink-black shadows cast by the headlights of our Bronco, I collected a large rattlesnake one-handed.  I would not consider doing such a thing now.  It would be madness.


PSYL said...

Sorry to hear that this is not your kind of a trip. Not mine either. Too many people doing silly things.

Hope you saw lots of wildlife though...more in your future posts, I guess.

Urban Wild said...

'Silly' as in folks don't know how to use the trash bin?

Sally said...

I'm thrilled that you're doing this-- so I don't have to!!

I always thought that those whose chosen form of recreation involved infernal combustion engines should have few, if any, privileges in our world. Alas, I don't get a say in that, do I?

Thanks for sacrificing yourself so the rest of us can see what we're missing, Hugh! You're doing great...