The Morning Swim
Tom and Karen Flusty swim out from in front of the lifeguard tower on Playa Marinero each morning and head out past the lighthouse towards the open sea.
It’s mid morning and there aren’t many people on the beach. Not that we can see them, in any event, since we’re in the bay in front of playa Marinero and out past the imaginary line we draw between the two lighthouses. It’s mid week so there are very few tourist boats to watch out for and zero bananas. Amen. An occasional fishing boat from the fishermen’s cooperative slides by and after seeing us out here for 11 years, three months out of the year, the fishermen just smile, wave, and glide on by. They, like the lifeguards, don’t much worry about los nadadores, los gringos locos. No need.
We get out past the fleet of anchored boats, with the pelicans sitting like an audience on the sides of the Zyanya, and the Billfish, which says “catch release” on one side but “catch relase” on the other, due to, no doubt, a sign painter unsure of his English. Still further we pass our familiar signposts: the Captain of the Port building, Súper Che and the various bridges along the scenic walkway below the lighthouse – the yellow bridge, the Mayan arch, the steep bridge – and the rock beach which we call no man’s land, where, if we’re fighting the tide on the way back in, we get an extra-heavy-duty workout.
Bueno, here we are, looking around the corner of the bay, past the Leblon and Eglantina condos and various houses and palapas that look like miniature creations of a gifted, whimsical, watercolorist. I kick over on my back for a while and check out the few puffs of clouds that occasionally drift in front of the sun and soften the glare. I slip back onto my stomach and swim a lazy crawl, taking me out further, then relax into the breaststroke just as the water directly in front of me explodes with the glistening silver bodies of mullet avoiding the predator fish below.
I look up again and a flock of tern darts out of the south and joins the feeding frenzy from above. This in turn brings the frigate birds, pirates of the sea, flying with a prehistoric grace and elegance, diving on the terns, and sea gulls, and pelicans and harassing them into releasing the captured fish that the frigates then catch in free fall... Very quickly, they’re all gone... The sky is still and the line of the horizon is clean and crisp.
We start rising and falling in the water with the arrival of swells from the south and a bit of a chop comes with a breeze... I catch Karen’s eye and she reminds me of the morning last year when we rose over a swell and came face to face with an ancient sea turtle who looked us right in the eye, then disappeared below... And of the time we found ourselves surrounded by a pod of dolphins... But when the water gets choppy it’s time to swim back to shore and become land creatures once again.Tom Flusty is a poet who divides his time between Puerto Escondido and California’s San Juan Ridge.