I know a place where no planes go


Us kids know

The Arcade Fire’s plea ballad may have been written for Playa Coyote (except that cars and ships do go), nestled in Bahia Concepcion. The moon’s full belly tears through diaphanous clouds on January 11, the first full moon of the year – the first full moon after the winter solstice. No planes go in this sky, nor do many other remnants of society, offering pristine moon and star gazing. Rippling waves tickle the white sand beach as the moon pulls the sea back to disperse with the day’s big works – san castles.

Today we had the opportunity to hop a lancha, as Martin swung by soliciting boat trips. He skippered along the coast to the south of Playa Coyote passing the private Playa Santa Barbara and the rocky perches of osprey and pelican. A pod of dolphins entertained Mason and Celia’s nascent sea-senses, as did the very fact of being on a boat. Circling an island we spooked a flock of cormorants (who knew they had flocks?) and frigate birds, one of which found itself in a dogfight with the island’s resident osprey.

In the afternoon, Celia and I took the standup paddleboard to the local NOLS branch to pick up some generously offered PFD’s The tide was as low as we’ve seen it, grating us views of starfish and jellyfish, and giddy with curiosity.

Then a whale shark.

And another!


Two of the world’s largest fish gently trolled directly beside and nearly underneath our SUP. The first we saw coming, with it’s distinctively visible dorsal and tail-fins. We turned to get a closer look. Celia and I gawked and gasped and then laughed. As it passed, she regretted that she hadn’t “seen its face” as only a four-year old could. She soon got her chance when the second shark swam directly under our boat! This one must have been around 20 feet long and caught us by surprise as its fins were fully submerged. I’m still a gumby in the sea myself and I had a bit of a panic as our board lingered above the shark passing below. Our vessel, mind you, was a SUP which gets wobbly with 2 humans on them, especially when one is a wobbly dad.

Celia saw the shark’s face this time – a flat, broad front, with widely-spaced eyes and spotted and terrifyingly large mouth. A blessing that they are such gentle fish. Their daily presence on this beach has been nothing short of awesome.

Now, as the full moon continues its arc overhead, they and all other creatures in the sea continue their aqueous journeys, pulled in unknowable ways by the round mother above. The push and pull of these two forms is a marvel to witness as I look over the sea and into the sky; my spirit as fresh and intrigued as a child’s.

Now the sandcastles have been returned to the sea and I feel the pull of sleep – to see if the moon and tide will graciously offer their deep wisdom through dreams and other nocturnal curiosities.