The past weeks I have been busy working on the decks of our larger cruisers. An absolutely full filling experience from my point of view. My clients were all in the 70’s something age range and we all appeared to have several things in common..Fishing and Flying. It was this thread running through our lives which left us all with questions about our meeting.
When I grew up there was an airplane in our garage. My surrogate uncle, John Willard Thorp, was one heck of an airplane designer, and my Dad was Uncle Johnnie’s best friend. Uncle Johnny designed an airplane in conjunction with Fletcher aircraft back in the late 1950’s. This airplane went from a single seat version to a 2 seater and during the initial test flights the aircraft entered into a flat spin which resulted in the death of both the Test Pilot and the Aerodynamic Engineer. This devastated Uncle Johnny as he always did the initial test flights himself and the Engineer who was killed was way close to the family as well. Why Uncle Johnny wasn’t flying? I cannot answer that.
As life goes, the gentlemen I am fishing with are brothers from the same parents but raised separately. One grew up in Burbank and told me a grand story of his test pilot fathers life and death in a very hot experimental airplane designed in Burbank. After hearing a verbal description of the plane I knew, this was the Fletcher, and yes it was Bob’s father who was killed. Someone is telling me something and this renewed my respect for flight which I shall remember as I take to the left seat once again.
Now the next Gentlemen I am to fish with also entered my life thru the power of the propeller. These guys I first met on the tarmac of Palo Alto Airport and the connection was immediate. You see I have one of those beloved Thorp airplanes, the one from my childhood to be exact. And our meeting was because of this airplane and the need to retire her to a museum.
As I entered Larry’s office to finalize the airplane donation paperwork I was struck by something recalling my youth. Everything airplane everywhere. My smile was quick to stick on my face and it only got better as these guys are the real deal. The discussion went from the Thorp to my future flying, to fishing, to La Paz, to a Cessna 182. One thing to another and here we are, in the Sea of Cortez, chasing billy together working out my safe return to flying.
First witnessing Flight#214, then the Fletcher story, and then Larry? To have this all happen so suddenly is a twist which brings forth the question of life. In my mind these things were sent to me from those I know in Heaven.
My smile is still stuck on my face.
No es lo mismo hablar de toros que estar en el redondel
Tight Lines Amigos,
Ahh finally back to La Paz. The adventure began on July 6th with Alaska flight #231, which attempted to leave SFO @ exactly 11:30am, the same time Asiana Airlines flight #214 attempted landing. We were #1 for takeoff and actually saw the airplane just as it settled in the dirt. Not a pretty way to start. 2 hours later I was back in the terminal hoping to fly on the 7th. Yes Alaska figured a way and at 11:30am, July 7th I was once again off to paradise Baja Style. My reports saying the water was warming and the fishing improving each day. There were many clients on hand, ready with both the fly and the sardina. I was prepared for either and hoping for shots with both. Then comes Hurricane Erick, creating another day off and extra cash for my favorite bartender, Fermin. The winds weren’t severe but once again the water was dirty. No worries the boys with the bills are reported in the area.. One of my favorite things to do in life is marlin fish. Why? to see that fin in the spread. Now thats one of the things that makes little Rico stand up! And each day since then I have had the fortune to see that fin.
Yesterday I had strikes from a toothy one..The wahoo cut off my hooks and trashed my best Pakula Frigate lure as though it was a sock to a puppy. Later yesterday, while hunting dorado with the live sardina I had the fortune of hooking a good sized blue billy. A #3 hook and 40lb test is not up to this job, but she was beauty to see before she left with a small meal which I was more than happy to provide.
Today was special. From the start of the day to the final hour little action, few birds, not much surface bait and the long range radio reports were saying tuna, tuna, tuna. Then it appeared. Moving slow, interested in looking and watching. The fin was high in the water, a 175 pounder would be a good estimate, and not moving in the usually normal fast moving frantic action. Billy just followed. We slowed the boat and Billy just watched, with what looked like adolescent curiosity.The fin was high and proud in the blue water. I smiled and this magnificent pelagic sounded and was gone for another day. To have seen him was enough to make my day complete.
I think these feelings can best be described in spanish
Quien todo lo quiere todo lo pierde
Tomorrow I hope Billy returns to visit
I was a fortunate kid having grown up in a family of Airplane Pilots. In fact my father and my Godfather built an airplane in our garage, but that is another story by itself. Anyway my first Baja Adventure occurred in 1965. I had a very good friend who’s father had a beautiful Cessna 310 and the family vacationed in the Los Barriles area. I was very familiar with airplanes by the time I was 12, (or at lest I thought I was) and so I was often invited to fly with my friends father to Baja for long weekends. We would leave Friday morning, clear airspace and then I would fly down the coast while Mr Kelley enjoyed the view. We would sometimes buzz friends in Mulege at speeds and altitudes which I am sure reminded Mr Kelley of WWII flying and certainly entertained me! In those days Los Barriles had a nice dirt strip where we would land and then be transported to the Casa on the beach.
In the 1960’s I had many Mexican Compadres and learned the value of a gift to a friend. I can remember seeing sailfish caught off the beach. Bait balls as big as a city and hot sand. We fished from shore with light rigs and being spooled was common. I was young and didn’t realize how much effect these days would have on my choices in later life, but here I am, figuring out how to once again to return to Baja of past, or maybe it’s just the La Paz aire.
Now as my life begins to settle into new adventures I see airplanes and Baja returning onto my horizon. Soon I will return to flying into Mexico as I too love Cessnas and the ultimate freedom of flying especially in Mexico where airspace is somewhat less controlled.
In Mexico we a a saying for such thoughts
“El tiempo cura y nos mata”
Tight lines and happy dreams
Baja has such a wide diversity of things to do and colors to see that boredom has never been possible. Between days filled with water colors and nights with colored feathers eyes are always left tired and glassy. Springtime brings cockfighting most every weekend and the Baja adventure includes too much to leave time for normal pleasures like sleeping late and reading a book in the hammock.
Every time one comes to Baja something different awaits them. This is true for the first time visitor as well as those who visit again and again. One of the draws to this paradise. The adventure often has nothing to do with the target of the trip only the final memory. Most times these adventures are unplanned and always make the heart pump and the mind race.
In Spanish they say” Mas vale ser perro de rico que santo de pobre”
And that is the truth!
Been Baja’ed lately?
There is two sides to my personality. First there is Eric, a retired Mechanical Engineer with 40 years of experience in the world of Metrology. In the early days, this career had me in an airplane most days traveling all over the USA and Europe doing sales, training and engineering work on a variety of projects spanning automobiles to medical devices. Second part of this career was with Stanford University as an Engineering Group Leader designing and fabricating experiments for high energy physics experiments.
Then there is Rico. Many people don’t even know who Eric is, only Rico. I guess it is best said like this. Rico likes to drink, smoke and chew, and likes women who do! A nickname I have had all my life and I probably live up to in most instances. Good? Probably not Fun? Oh yea, and I like fun in many different forms.
The idea of creating this blog came from many friends of mine. Rico you should be a blogger I was told and why I would ask? Cause you have a very twisted way of looking at life and your crazy at times. And yes this is true.
I hope to entertain you with stories from the Sea of Cortez as well as giving you Rico’s insight into all things Baja. I spend half my time in La Paz and the other half fishing and hunting in North Western United States. I have a great love affair with the people of Mexico and their culture, so much so I will probably live here, in La Paz, more than the US as time goes by.
I will try to update this blog at least once a week. Maybe more often when in Mexico. I hope reading my blog will bring a smile to your face and a rumbling in las bragas!
In Mexico there is a saying “Hay mas tiempo que vida” And that is the truth!
Until next time,
Featuring stories about fishing and life on the Sea of Cortez, Southern Baja and La Paz Mexico brought to you by Rico!