"Him say boat not nice today."
Rodrigo turned up two more fishermen, but their boats were not nice either. Meanwhile my friend and I went down to the beach where we saw the heads of huge totuava, several desiccated sharks and a ray with a wingspan of about four feet. We were ready to wade into the river mouth and attack the fish barehanded when Rodrigo announced that he had found a boat for us. We waited for an hour while the skipper went out to his shrimp boat, at anchor in the estuary, examined it and returned to tell us that it would probably sink if he took it out into the river mouth.
Now, after a glorious day's nonfishing, it was time to go back across the desert to Yuma. We were mired in the sand five more times, ran out of gas, ran out of soft drinks (courtesy of Rodrigo) and ran out of patience. That evening we discovered that we had fallen prey to the most common of the turista's ailments, as a result of which each of us can now run the 100-yard dash in 9.5.
But the next day my friend and I, dedicated fishermen to the end, were in ecstatic agreement that we had had a fascinating and worthwhile trip. Some would not agree, but they would not be fishermen. We had caught something as important as fish; we had caught fish stories. Fish are perishable, like those totuava heads rotting in the sun. But fish stories abide forever.
And you can always catch them on the Colorado River.