It turned out to be a chocolate birthday cake- Surprise!

We gobbled it down after ravioli and grilled steak and lobster and lion's paw scallops with seared pineapple and Serrano chills and a precious bottle of red wine, while  we watched the sunset behind Bahia Marquer.
Terry and Dawn made a huge fuss over my birthday-they are BIG birthday people-and for the third day in the row they stopped over with presents.
There was the pineapple cake and scuba lessons and movies made by Terry and his friends that could rival the best ever National Geographic special but he won't ever sell the footage of these magical spots because he doesn't nwant  the animals living there to be exploited. 
The best spots are always kept secret. 
They also brought me two rare and special shells. One of them I had previously  thrown overboard...
While we were diving the day before, Terry had spotted a special shell called a Hairy Conch and had gathered it up and stuck it in our dingy-only he forgot to tell me about it.
We had all headed back to our own boats, exhausted and thrilled from the day of diving. Later that afternoon, I was cleaning all the junk from our dingy; fins, masks, snorkels, snacks, booties, weight belts, collecting bags, spearguns, Hawaiian slings-it's a gear-intensive life we lead-and I found, as I always do, a small stockpile of critters in the bottom of our rubber boat. Kai and Hunter love collecting animals and in the excitement of the day they are sometimes forgotten and left to perish. A petting zoo of oysters and clams, scallops and sea urchins, starfish and periwinkles, usually owe their  small bivalve-lives to me. I rescue as many as I can and toss them back to the sea. I chucked the handful of mollusks and noticed among them, an unusual looking Conch of some sort.  Once inside our big boat again , I scolded Kai about his forgetfulness, he nodded and apologized, without ever looking up from his book.
Later that night, Terry and Dawn had Jon and I over for drinks, while the kids watched a movie on our boat. They have a huge multi-hull. A very cool boat with an absolutely massive deck area and giant net hammocks slung between her three hulls. Several people can lounge comfortably in one of the hammocks. We lay around under the full moon listening to Terry tell one epic story after another-each more amusing and astounding or frightening than the last. Everything from swimming  and riding his pal Williwaw, a manta ray who lives 300 miles off of Cabo and has a twenty foot wingspan ,  to how to out-wit a pack of man-eating Humbolt Squid at 150 feet down on a solo-night dive. I mean, it is probably hard to find a more entertaining person to listen to than Terry-or Dawn for that matter. The two of them are endless movie material.
Anyway- back to the Hairy Conch.
So Terry turns to me and says,
"You find that present I left you in the dingy?" 
"No?" I say, with some trepidation-Terry is really big on practical jokes and more than once we fell for some gag he played on us at 70 feet below.
Like the time he handed Kai a huge sea-cucumber and it oozed sticky slime on him that glued his gloves together.
Oh, he got a good chuckle out of that one.
Or the time he handed me a massive sea sponge and I carried it around for like 15 minutes before Dawn finally signaled for me to put the damn thing down. It had been flaking crusty gunk in my mask but I was carrying it like it was a bar of gold because Terry had handed it to me on the dive and acted like I should keep it as treasure. He got a real kick out of what newbie numbskulls we were. He could hand us a piece of sand and we would take it from him like it was the seventh wonder of the world.
Well, it turns out that the Conch really was something  special and he had given it to me with the intention of teaching us how to kill the conch and them clean the shell and we would be left with a dazzling shell to put on display.
I told them I had thrown it overboard and then yelled at Kai, thinking it was another one of his forgotten finds.
They had a good laugh over that one, too.
So, the next day, my actual birthday, they presented me with the shell- only cleaned and perfect this time.
"How did you get this?" I asked. "Did you already have one?".
Dawn smiled.
 "I went and got it", she said.
I had free-dived under our boat too, looking for the shell,  after Terry told me what I had chucked-but it was long gone. crawled away, i thought.
"You just didn;t know what to look for" said Dawn.
"We put on our gear, fired up our night lights and waited till you all went to sleep..." chuckled Terry.
"You night dived under our boat for it?" we were stunned,
" Yup" Terry grinned, pleased as punch. 
"We practically had to wait till midnight to make sure you didn't catch us!"
Dawn had killed it and cleaned it and the next morning, they brought it and a beautiful spiny scallop shell to me on my birthday.
This time, I did not need to be told not to toss it. 
It was beautiful.

The next morning broke warm and clear like pretty much everyday here that there's not a hurricane warning.
Jon and I listend to Amigo net and got our weather and decided we would go for it.
Head North,
Bay of Los Angeles.
Whalesharks, scallops the size of your hand, huge fish and pelican and blue-footed booby rookeries, sea lion colonies and maybe our friends on Eyoni...
Terry and Dawn came over and invited us for one last dive.
My shoulder was acting up and Hunter was beat from a big few days-all that cake making! So we stayed home and the boys went.
Kai and Jon did another 100 foot dive with Terry and this time it was official, Terry marked it on his dive computer.

We said our goodbyes to Manta and our fairy god-parents Terry and Dawn. 
We will miss them and look forward to seeing them( and playing with them!) on our way back down.

After lunch we weighed anchor and headed North. 

We had no wind-anywhere and no seas to speak of...
 Just smooth glass sea and Ol' Perkie...
Who is running great again.
Our good old girl was back in form and we were off into the unknown.
By that evening, we had anchored for the first time in months, in a new ( to us) anchorage.
Pulpito,  a towering headland of granite, 600 feet high, rises out of the water just North of our well explored, stomping ground, Ramada.
We had often looked at Pulpito in the distance and wondered what might lie around her corner...

Tomorrow we would find out.

Suiting up to dive Pulpito-that's it in the background.
Jon slays dinner...and lunch for tomorrow!

fresh from the sea

A Birthday Jump!
solar chocolate fudge cake

Birthday smiles

good girl....

watch out sea urchins!

Kai holds a "bug"
I want a room in these colors!

Norman was still grumbling...

but he finally let us be.
Hunter's treasure...

A paper nautilus
Searching for fossils in the sandstone

Birthday shells

Kai with the Hairy Conch

Terry tickles Hunter-because Hunter tickles him!

Scuba stud

The Birthday queen of Marquer

Hunter picks on someone her own size

1 comment:

  1. A fantastical bug like a lobster
    Was held in the hand of a mobster
    Those fingers Sicilian
    Were bit plus his willy an'
    His tongue fell right out of his gobster