I boarded the good ship Enterprise with high expectations for another journey into the unknown and with the Mad Captain behind the helm we would surely go where no sane man had gone before. We plotted a course south through central Mexico to Oaxaca and ultimately Puerto Angel a relatively unknown seaside paradise. We initiated the launch in our usual fashion with a big fat joint and set the craft on cruise control. The ride to Oaxaca was long and slow due to antiquated road conditions. No matter, we were not hampered by a rigid schedule; we were two crazy unattached dudes with the freedom to leisurely exploit the time we had on our hands. Between the long moments of silence I recounted my adventures with Dutch Boy in our quest for a boat. He was particularly interested in the idea of boating as an alternate means of traveling. Buying a boat and sailing around was at the top of his “things to do list”. The more we talked about it the more animated he became and blurted out, “hey, if I get a boat would you like to come aboard and be my first mate”? “Aye, aye Captain”, I responded thinking that this was a wishful pipe dream and would more than likely never happen. “OK, then”, he shot back. “Be aware of what you wish for, because it just might happen”!
We rolled into Oaxaca just as the day was drawing to a close. We found a lovely spot to land the Enterprise adjacent to Monte Alban the ancient capital of the Zapotecs. The Zapotec culture thrived for about a thousand years before it collapsed around 800ad. Monte Alban remains as a lasting testament to their tenacity. Anyway, we had a panoramic view of the site and watched with our mouths and minds agape as the setting sun bathe the pyramids in a phosphorescent golden hue. Splendorous!! After an evening puff I plunged into a deep sleep and became tangled in ancient dreams. We lingered for several days enjoying the warm winter days. Not to mention, Oaxaca is a gorgeous city basking in a high semi-lush valley between two mountain ranges. The architecture is timeless and OMG the Mercado was one of the best I’ve ever seen. All good stuff but we had a yearning for the coast. Our plotted course took us on a narrow, scantly paved road and often barely passable. Half way up the mountain pass the grim reality hit us; we really needed some kind of four wheel vehicle like a 1947 Dodge Power Wagon and not the smooth road craft we were navigating. There were moments when I prepared to press the escape button and launch out of the doomed Enterprise. We were well pass the Fail-Safe point and kept on “truckin” up the mountain. Through stubborn guile we made it to the summit of the mountain range. A small village was perched on the top. As we slowly passed through the narrow streets, the Captain and I got a brilliant idea. This region had a reputation for growing magic mushrooms “hongos”. Let’s try and score some. I rolled down my window and hailed the first likely suspect a young man with shoulder length scraggly hair. I asked him if he knew where to get some hongos. He looked at us, gave a knowing smile and said to wait for him. He quickly disappeared and few minutes later reappeared with a bag of freshly harvested mushrooms. He charged us about three dollars for his service; we gave him five as a token of our appreciation. He was overjoyed and so were we. Fortune was with us when we thwarted the temptation to eat the hongos and wait until we reached our final destination. The road down the west side of the mountain range was no less treacherous than the nail-biting drive up the east side. It would have been a nightmare to try and descend under the spell of mushrooms. After about eight hours of a frightful and grueling ride we arrived in Puerto Angel. We found a perfect little spot under a grove of palm trees with an awesome view of a beautiful little bay at our disposal. The sun was fading and so were we. Fatigued and broken we both crashed and didn’t wake up until noon the next day. Our first order of business; eat mushrooms. We walked to a nearby outdoor fruit stand and bought a bunch of bananas and freshly squeezed orange juice. The bananas would help to alleviate the sometimes nauseating effects of mushrooms and the orange juice was an excellent chaser to mask the earthy taste. We plopped ourselves on the beach and waited for the breakfast of chumps to kick in. It didn’t take long. We were soon hallucinating and laughing hysterically, man these hongos packed a powerful punch. As I sat in yet another altered state of perception the seascape before me became a four dimensional masterpiece. The sand turned soft and spongy like microscopic marsh mellows. The clouds were skimming across the sky and morphing into circus animals. As the waves crashed on the beach, I could hear a symphony of thunder and feel its’ power as visceral vibrations making the sand quiver and my entire cellular structure bubble with excitement. An idea struck the Captain; I could actually see a flickering light bulb over his head. “Let’s go surfing”, he exclaimed. “What? Was he serious? The waves were now beginning to look like tsunamis and I still had vivid memories of our last mushroom trip involving the ocean. Alas, he was serious! Besides the now broken and discarded canoe a surf board was strapped down to the top of the Enterprise. The Captain was the first to test his surfing skills. I watched with amusement in the safety under a palm tree as the Captain tried to catch a wave without falling off. After multiple attempts he gave up and dragged the board ashore. It then hit me; I had never surfed on mushrooms before this might be an excellent new adventure. I jumped up, grabbed the board and paddled out to meet the waves. I managed to catch a good sized wave and ride it for a few seconds before losing my balance and falling off. The board surfed itself to shore leaving me behind. Shit! It was only about fifty yards from the beach so I started to swim in. After a few minutes I looked up to see my progress. What the Hell, I was farther away! I began to swim with an added sense of urgency. I paused again to check my location. I was even farther away from shore and could feel myself being pulled out to the open ocean. Holy fucking Hell, I knew exactly what was happening; I was caught in a rip tide! Panic prevailed. Instead of following the proper procedure of swimming parallel to the shore and angling in I swam head on into the current. I rapidly lost strength and started to swallow way too much sea water. The harder I tried to swim the weaker I became. I got to the point where exhaustion was paralyzing me and the grim realization of the uber-seriousness of my situation only made matters worse. Panic was replaced with a dire sense of dread. I couldn’t swim another stroke and started to go under. I abandoned the struggle to survive and let go. Everything turned a dismal gray; I didn’t know if my eyes were open or closed. There are many accounts of people, when death is tapping on their shoulders, see their lives flash before them. I had a condensed “Reader’s Digest” version of that phenomenon. My life visually whizzed by me. The good and bad times, the rewards and regrets were all accounted for. Resigning to the inevitable, I felt peacefully and light like a burden had been lifted from my being. I suddenly felt myself being violently tumbled forward in a swirl of gray foam and thought, “This is it”! My time has come! I bobbled to the top of the tempest and realized death had temporarily lost its’ grip on me. I watched in horror as another big wave was about to break over me. I was once again violently tumbled forward. When I surfaced the beach was much closer. I was scooped up and hurdled by series of big waves. Still too weak to swim I started to sink again. This time I felt bottom, I was close to the beach! Mustering up the last reserves of energy I swam like a mad man fleeing fate. Another wave swept me up and un-sympathetically dumped me on the beach. I had just enough left in me to crawl a few yards up the beach just out of reach from the angry and ever growing surf. My jubilation about still being alive was quickly diminished by at least a solid hour of painfully regurgitating the sea water I swallowed. My system had been poisoned. Now, I was still very much in a mushroom mode so everything that occurred was amplified by a factor of ten. After vomiting up about two gallons of a liquid rainbow hell I literally crawled on my hands and knees to the safe haven of the Enterprise. I then began a three day campaign of throwing up every fifteen minutes or so. I couldn’t eat or even hold down water. I felt like maybe fate hadn’t done me such a favor by letting me live because I now felt like I wanted to die. On the fourth day I was able to eat a banana and drink orange juice. By God, I was coming out of a dark tunnel. Yes, it was once again good to be alive. I was now well enough to hop back into the Enterprise and head back to Cholula and recuperate. On the way home little talk was made about the Puerto Angel episode. I was still trying to process all that had transpired. Fucking Hell, what did it all mean? I did learn one obvious but still valuable lesson though; mushrooming and playing in the sea had so far been incompatible in my recent experiences.