Thursday, June 16, 2011


Original pastel by Monica Lawson

That's not a    FISH!!!!!!!!      ......... but it's a good start, Don.

Try again, Dean, that one won't even fill my cavity!


"I'm quality control," says Maggie. "And these will be fine for me! What are you guys going to eat?"

"I didn't see any fish!"
Neal admitted.
"I don't think there's any fish in the Sea of Cortez."

There are OTHER things to eat from the
Sea of Cortez besides fish .......

Oh yeah ....... WHAT?

CLAMS .....

c                                       rCRABS .....


"If ya want to catch BIG fish ....
ya gotta do it yourself!" Maggie said to Eldon.
"You're using too small fishing line ....
Now THIS is the size to use for the BIG ONES!"

a fancy fish!!! Caught by Eldon, the great stalker of the deep
using a Hawaiian Sling!

Here, let me help you clean it!

"Hold it!" the seals waved and frantically
pointed ..... over there, over there!
That's where the BIG ones are!" they advised.
I think they're trying to get us out of their fishing ground. But, hey
it's worth a try. Let's try fishing .......................
over there.

"How about this fishing pole?" Betty asked.

That's not a fishing pole... silly girl.
That's the back-stay.... it's holding up the mast!
I think Betty should stick with
just looking pretty
while the rest of the crew
does the fishing.

I got
a BIG ONE!" Eldon yelled!
The seals were RIGHT!

what I'm talkin' about ...... " Maggie said, as Eldon
proudly held the Dorado we caught by trailing a line off the
stern and trolling very fast.

..... and then one day
we heard a transmission
over the ship's radio..
"Whale aground
whale aground!
All yachties ... help!"

We got into our dinghy
and raced to a shallow area
and saw other sailors
and local fishermen
cautiously surrounding
a 40 plus foot whale
that had gotten
caught in shallow water
with the receding tide
off of a sand bar
near La Paz.

Yeah RIGHT!!!
How does one ..... or a dozen or more
rescue a WHALE?

I heard the story about 
Jonah and the Whale...
but the role was reversed -
Jonah was saved
by being swallowed
by that big
Attempt at role reversal, here.

Monica fourth person from the left in the water at the whales blow hole and eye!
A Marine Biologist examined her and said .... yes, it was a she ...
that she wasn't experiencing extreme duress ..
Now how does one go about  determining the frame of mind
and stress level of a whale?

This is a true story .....
In the city of La Paz, Baja Mexico
in the Sea of Cortez,
there are often incidences
of whale groundings.
Sand bars and quickly receding tides
often catch these monsters of the deep
in shallow water,
sometimes unable to save themselves.

As the small flotilla of
gringo yachties
and local fishermen
and Marine Biologists
from La Paz surrounded the whale
a sense of awe and doubt
settled in .....
how DO we rescue this whale?
One of the Biologists had a stethoscope ..
just like used on people.
He listened to her heart rate and said,
"Touch her ... talk to her, splash water on her back,
pat her and let her know she's going to get rescued!
Her heart rate isn't too high...
         she knows we're here to help her......
but stand away
from her tail!"

I was standing in waist deep water at her head ...
her eye was within a foot from me ...
and she looked at me.
Have you ever looked a whale in the eye?
I have.
And then someone said,"Watch out! She's gonna BLOW!"
How do you get away from a blowing whale...
you're waist deep in the water ,
standing beside her BLOW HOLE?
You don't.
She BLEW!!!
Hmm, she doesn't have bad breath, I remember thinking.
And off shore in deeper water
we saw at least four other whales....
swimming back and forth
back and forth ...slowly.
Were they watching out for their friend, probably family members?
The Biologist said yes ... common behaviour when one is
in distress the family gathers and lets their presence be
known..... for comfort, encouragement...
Are humans the only ones that convey those
caring acts to others?

A large shrimp boat with Mexican crew aboard
stretched a thick line from the boat
to the whale's tail and tied the rope around it.
And we waited for the tide to rise ...
splashing her with water and encouraging
the whale in any way
we could.
Her eyes were large a big dinner plate,
and they moved side to side,
often fixing her gaze upon me.
In whale emotions,
what were her thoughts?
"Boy, I did it this time!"
"I wasn't paying attention to the depth ..."
Whale water rules:
ALWAYS know the depth! And
keep track of the outgoing tide!
And we continued waiting for the tide to rise ......
"Get out and away," the Biologist warned. "We're  going
to start pulling her out!"
We scattered, slogging through waist deep and rising water
to move out of the way as the rope attached to
her tail tightened ....
The huge boat slowly,
deliberately began
 pulling her off the sandbar....
 the tide raising her enormous body. ..
she was becoming more buoyant.
A massive creature
starting to bob and sway
with the rising water.
The taut rope pulled at her tail.
"STOP!" someone yelled.
"She's going to lose her tail ....
it can't take that kind of pressure!"
"Yeah ... so what's the alternative!
She stays here and dies anyway!" another rescuer shouted.
The other whales, standing off ....
seemed to
know something was happening.
They drew further away.... swimming slowly
back and forth.

Whoops and hollers, hurrahs
surrounded the scene as she
swished her tail.
She was floating and free!
Okay, now we have another problem!
Who's going to
remove that rope?
As if used to doing this every day,
three brave Mexican fishermen
swooped in and quickly,
 cut the rope.
As if she knew this was the final human act
to help gain her freedom,
she didn't thrash about or even move her
until they were out of the way.

She was totally buoyant
and swam off..... we thought....
joining her friends
who were leading the way to
deeper water.

Eldon and I returned to our dinghy 
 and the rest of the
gringo yachties, along with the local
fishermen and biologists
broke away from the scene,
headed back to boats and
the town to tell a
Whale of a Tail!

The whales seemed to disappear
Until I glanced over the edge of the dinghy
into the water beneath us
and saw a
coming up
right under
 our little
"Oh SHIIIIT!" Eldon yelled,
gunned the motor and
zoomed out and away.
She stayed a few feet under water
seemed  to
be watching me .....
or so I thought at the time ....
She stayed in that spot
for a few seconds ...
then dove
she was gone.
Compassion and assistance,
stretched between
a Giant of the Deep
 and humans that day.
 It was once said that a "giant fish"
 was used to
 rescue a man name Jonah.
But my  
"Whale Tail"
an unforgetable day
in the Sea of Cortez
"man" rescued
a giant  ......