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  • Writer's pictureMegan Frye

Dispatch from Barra de Potosí, Guerrero, Mexico

A day in Zihuatanejo starts before dawn. With bolillos de requesón and black coffee in front of the gas station at 6 a.m. Under a moonless sky, the morning creeps in. Everything looks low res in the limininal hours and we board a fiberglass “panga” as the sun begins to separate the water from the sky.

Pelicans dive into the water surrounding our little boat. Once breakfast has been caught, they sit at the tops of bright green mangroves, alongside high-soaring frigates and the seemingly impermeable cormorants, and warm under the golden orb sun which down here hits so hard the night barely has time to shake it off before it's back up again.

The fishermen are already coming in. They leave at sunset and return as the sun rises, on scant and efficient fiberglass motorboats that will break your ass if you’re sitting down and catch a wave the wrong way. They bring back tuna, mahi mahi and red snapper.

My guide, Arturo, has been working on humpback whale research trips for years, south of the small enclave of Barra de Potosí, known for its fish and its surf. The warm waters of Guerrero’s coast are an ideal location for humpbacks to breed, and the seas fill with them in the winter. And sometimes the orcas that hunt their young as well.

We leave the tranquil waters of Laguna de Potosí and head for open swell. I stand so I don’t crack a vertebrae, as the fury of Pacific waves racing toward the lagoon. The dolphins find us quickly. They are swift and joyful. A lone Pacific Ridley sea turtle swims by; I am always so surprised to see them on the surface, even though it’s normal. I didn’t grow up on the tropical seas, and no matter how many times I go out on a boat in these waters, I am always amazed by the marine world as if it were the first time. And always get a case of the “tides.” The Spanish word for seasick (mareadx) comes from the word for tides.

I breathe into the steadiness of what I can see from here: Guerrero’s impotent, green mountains and secret beaches, and islands that jut out of the infinite, alive and never-still blue existence beneath me. In these moments of everythingness and nothingness, the world is mine.

And I am something else. Something that is too great to be judged or measured. Something that belongs to the forces of the wild.

On land, I am greeted with fresh-caught huachinango, fried and also baked in chile sauce, guacamole, fresh tortillas and coconut water. There is no time in Barra de Potosí. Only the movements of the tides, the ferocity of the sun and the refuge of the moon.


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