About two-thirds of the way down the Pacific side of Baja is Bahia Santa Maria. It’s a good anchorage and has a Mexican fish camp at the head of the bay. Consequently, the fishermen leave at “0-dark 30” to go fishing in the ocean and usually return early- to mid-afternoon.
Sometimes the fishermen will stop by your boat if you wave them over or if they need something. In this case, they stopped by on their own because they wanted to barter. There were three of them: two adult guys and a “grandpa,” and they wanted to barter for AA batteries (fortunately I had some to spare). The verbal exchange was challenging with my limited Spanish and their limited English.
The bottom of the panga (the common Mexican, outboard-powered, open boat) was covered with their day’s catch. After handing over some batteries, I requested “un pescado para mi.” Grandpa selected one from the catch and started to hand it to me, but I’m not good at cleaning fish, so I requested “filete para mi, por favor.” In the blink of an eye, Grandpa flopped it on the wood seat, whipped out his knife, and filleted it before one could say “Bob’s your uncle.”
This happened two more times. They got some D batteries and some candy for the kids in the camp. In the process, I learned that the fish were Cavallo. When all was said and done, they were happy and so was I.
By the way, I put the fillets in the freezer and barbecued them later in the cruise. I can honestly say they were of excellent flavor and texture. So, barter for Cavallo if you have the chance!
Neal Doten s/v No Moss