Pedro the Pelican

San Felipe, Baja, Mexico
Pedro the Pelican

Once upon a time when it was very hot, my brother, his wife and I went fishing just below Puertocitos, Mexico. It was too hot for humans but my brother’s logic was something along the lines of; this is the only time that I can take off. It was going to be short trip. We were fishing from the rocky shoreline and by noon we had about a metric ton of triggerfish in our possession.

We decide to leave our fishing gear baited and in the water while we return to camp for lunch, this seldom works for me. We have an excellent 5 course lunch followed by a nap of unknown length. While on this trip I found a short beach chair that needed to be rewoven, clearly written on one of the straps that was not broken, the name Weaver. I still have this chair and now it is fully outfitted with new straps.

After the nap we head back to where we had left our fishing gear. There was no action until we became visible at the waters edge then the pelican that was hopelessly tangled in monofilament tried to move away. It is near high tide and the water is within 4 feet of the surface that we are fishing from. I think that I go into the water first but even in the hobbled state the pelican can swim faster than I can. My brother comes in and we surround the pelican.

We can’t get the pelican freed from the fishing line in the water so we take the bird to shore. Neither of us is familiar with the arsenal that a pelican might have at their disposal because pelicans did not visit Arkansas regularly. We do know that the bird is about 25% pecker and it will hit the water at a high rate of speed. Harold gets out of the water first and the bird is transferred to him always making sure we have a firm grip on the pecker.

After the bird is free Harold wants a picture of him holding the pelican. This is done and Harold says “you take the bird and we will get your picture”. After that is finished Harold says throw the bird up and we will get the final picture. The bird seems to be very calm so I say let me simply set it down and see what happens. In this endeavor at some point I must release my grip on that awesome looking instrument. Harold’s advice was to turn my head away as it might try to peck out my eye.

As soon as it is released the bastard bites my arm with a force of about half an ounce. Then it just stood there and looked me directly in the eye. I am sure it was thinking, hey dude you saved me now you have to feed me for the rest of my life. Fortunately the tide was coming in and after we stood there for several minutes a big wave broke over the surface of the rocks and the pelican went swimming.

I wonder about Pedro’s memory span.

Ray Alexander
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