On the Sea of Cortez

By Alan B. Combs

Between Baja California and the mainland of Mexico runs the almost unbearably beautiful Sea of Cortez. Blue, deep, with giant turtles, whales, and extraordinary game fishing, it is a tourist paradise.. It was in a time much nearer my youth that my parents took us for a week of vacation and fishing at La Paz, in Baja. It was in the midst of my pharmacy schooling and the contrast was wonderful. I have many happy memories of that time.

One memory that stands clearer than most is watching the giant mantas breaching like whales in the early morning sunlight. They would come totally out of the water, twisting and shaking themselves in the air. We were told they did this to shake off remora suckerfish. It was an unforgettable sight.

These were very large, spectacular, and admirable beasts. Frequently, we could see one pass under our fishing boat and it could be seen simultaneously on both sides of the vessel. I later read about the internal anatomy and workings of these exotic animals.. Romantic that I am, these physiological studies always brought the old song to mind:

It happened in manta ray,
A long time ago.
It happened in manta ray,
In old Mexico.

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