Saturday, June 7, 2008

Flying Fish

I've mentioned before that Ibis and I often run along the ocean in the mornings, but what I haven't told you about is the show nature puts on while we're there. A walking path follows the shoreline for half a mile and there are several lookout spots where you can take in the scenery without getting in the way of other people. Most of these lookouts are circular and have decorative stone inlays that must have taken a lot of time and effort.

The largest of these circle is at the end of the path and we often join a group of Mexican women to stretch before heading home. At this spot the path is cut into the rocky hill so you feel almost embraced by the landscape. This isn't a place for swimming - the shore is full of rocks that have broken free from the hill - and I'm often mesmerized by the crashing waves.

I don't have to watch the water for very long before I spot a fish leaping into the air. Followed by another, and another. On a typical morning I'll see a dozen fish break the surface and my imagination goes into overdrive trying to figure out why they do it. Mating ritual? Fleeing a shark? Getting a suntan? They are roughly a foot long (Ibis says more like a foot and a half) and their white bellies flash as they flip through the air. It's nothing earth-shattering - most everyone's seen a fish jump at some point in their life - but the fact that we see them jumping every time we're there is pretty cool.

Yesterday we went to Playa Madera, the beach just before the end of the path, and the fish were in their prime. I was rinsing off after a vigorous game of kick the ball back and forth when I spotted a fish pirouetting in the air. Then four more leapt at the same time. Then another, then three more.

Ibis was further out than me and he turned around to make sure I saw it. We watched for five minutes and must have seen thirty fish flying through air, all in a row, from one end of the beach to the other. Other people on the beach stopped to stare at the fish parade, all of us transfixed on the spectacle. Over and over they jumped in tandem, twisting and turning in the air, oblivious to their audience.

When five fish broke the surface at once, I felt like I was at an aquarium watching trained animals. A small child clapped her hands in excitement as the adults watched on in silence, in awe of Mother Nature and how selflessly she shares her beauty. Of course I couldn't help but think how easy it'd be to catch one; they'd probably jump right into the boat.

This morning Ibis and I reminisced about the fish parade and he told me there was another kind of parade three days ago. Apparently a pair of sharks took a detour into Zihuatanejo Bay and had to be chased out by the Naval ship that's stationed here. So maybe the fish were flying for their lives.


Janna Qualman said...

Very cool! And a great post.

spyscribbler said...

Wow. That sounds absolutely beautiful!

Melanie Avila said...

It is beautiful there. The hotel where Ibis works is on that beach and it's the one spot where you look out to the ocean, as opposed to the rest of the bay. I'll have to get a picture one of these days.