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The Sea of Cortez

Howell Hurst Uncategorized

After the 1500-mile cruise from San Francisco to La Paz, Baja Mexico and almost three months fine tuning and upgrading various equipment of my sailboat, Wild Goose, I am about ready to begin exploring The legendary Sea of Cortez.

This youngest of the earth’s seas literally erupted into existence. Massive volcanoes along the San Andreas Fault in a cataclysm of explosions flung matter from deep within the planet out over

seven-hundred-mile stretch of what is now the southernmost edge of the western United States to the present tourist trap Cabo SanLucas. The deep scar that remained became The Sea when the Pacific Ocean found its way into the gaping chasm.

About five million years later, a fellow named Francisco de Ulloa, working for his boss, Hernan Cortez, explored The Sea and, with the wisdom of a dedicated supplicant, named it after his militant superior, who had originally appeared on the scene in the service of Spain and dutifully conquered the local Indians. Whether Ulloa profited for his bit of flattery I do not know. For a while Cortez did, but ended up stripped of much of his once glorious power.

The Sea, biologically the richest body of water on the planet, with over 900 fish varieties and 2000 marine invertebrates, is today being methodically raped of its native wealth by the over-fishing of commercial interests of the worldwide consumer community. It appears I must move quickly if I am not to potentially be exploring an increasingly failing Sea.

John Steinbeck explored the Sea with his friend Doc Ricketts while Hitler terrorized Europe in World War II, thereby helping enlighten many about its treasures – a far-fetched balance one might say between the eternal opposing forces of good and evil.

With new terrorists plying their fanatical trade today, I find a certain irony at being able also to focus my feeble attention a few months on this unique and still relatively little known delight, although my training and avocation is not marine biology. I approach the Sea with the simple curiosity of the sailor.

Today’s La Paz high was near 84 degrees; it’s 82 now, the wind’s out of the north at 12 knots or so. At only 14 percent humidity, it’s been another perfect day in this sleepy little harbor I’m calling home until I untie from the dock and head north along the western edge of The Sea.

As for American politics, you’ll surely be pleased I’ve not been writing of it lately and won’t burden your gray cells with my opinion of it at this time; I’ll have plenty to say about it in its own good time. For now: The Sea beckons.

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