It must have been about 15 years ago I was driving my old beater green Jeep Cherokee hatchback with my friend Tommy G. to go check out The Waves out at Playa Linda on the North side of Ixtapa, the resort town to the north of Zihautenejo, Guerrero, Mexico. We decided to let this session go as there was little too much bump on the water, it was already getting pretty late and we thought the better plan was just to head back home 20 minutes north and chill at Casa Delfin Sonriente, my B&B in Troncones, and get up early to surf our favorite surf spot in the morning, dawn patrol. On the walk back from the wave check I saw this feathery grey lump of distressed and exhausted bird hunched down in the sand slightly canted head and long neck slightly tilted over and head settled into its body, one eye looking at me. As I approached, I could see that it had a fishing line wrapped around its neck and body and a hook, rendering it unable to move, flap its wings or open its beaks. One big eye wearily looked in my direction without the strength to even hold eye contact while I looked at it and thought about how to help this wounded and sorry pelican. Any course of action required staying away from the 6 inches of beak and not hurting it. It was a big bird with a good five- or six-foot wingspan and large body and two black webbed feet. Getting it into the back of the jeep and the 20-minute drive could be interesting.
I called out to Tommy G. who was standing off to one side and asked him to get me one of the beach towels and to leave open the hatch back on the jeep. While he was doing this the bird and I just looked at each other. I could see that he had picked up a zillion gnats and sand bugs of all kinds when laying there for who knows how long wrapped in fishing line and struggling to get free of it and by now too exhausted to resist or react to our interest in him. While I crouched down low and thought about how I'd do this Tom came back from the jeep after a minute and found me still crouched about a foot away from the obviously exhausted bird.