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Fino el Josefino

Fino & Cleo
© 1997 Lloyd Kahn
Rafael (Fino) Green Romero is a fifth generation Josefino (native of San José del Cabo)*, one of Los Cabos’ hottest surfers, and also a diver, hunter, food-gatherer and local spirit tuned into the natural state of things in his native land. For example, the estero:

“It used to be paradise. I’d just go out with friends — maybe 6 or 7 of us — we’d catch shrimps, crabs . . . .”

How did you get the crabs?

“We’d take a piece of meat, tie it to a string, throw it out in deep water. When a crab grabbed it, we slowly pulled it in, and he’d hold on, and when he was close enough we’d spear him — whap! We also caught snook and snapper, from the beach using hand lines. It was considered “weak” (lame) to use poles. We’d use 20 lb. line and a piece of wood to wrap it around. First, we’d snag some small mullet for bait.

How many of you would do this?

“Maybe 6 or 8 of us. I was 12 and the oldest was around 30. Then we’d make a seafood soup right there. We’d go to the huertas (fields) and get tomatoes, chiles, peppers, garlic . . . .

“We’d also hunt for ducks and geese in the estero with sling shots and air rifles. I used to go through the jungle like a wild man. We’d swim across the channel holding our rifles out of the water and then shoot some birds and swim out to get them. Man, it was so clean then (the ’70s).

Fino and his wife Cleo run the Killer Hook surf shop in San Jose — downtown near the church. When they take a day off, they often go on surf/spearfish/camping trips. Fino free dives, uses a Hawaiian sling (you have to get about 3 feet away from the fish, he says, whereas a spear gun will go maybe 10 feet).

“I go for small fish (2–3 feet long) and lobsters. We also get oysters and sea snails. We make a barbecue, stuff the fish with cilantro, green pepper, onions, mayonnaise, lemon butter, tomatoes and wrap it in foil. It’s so good!.”

Sometimes they go over to Todos Santos and surf for a couple of hours in the morning, then go dove hunting in the afternoon.

“We take the doves over to another beach, clean them, wash them in salt water. Make a fire. I bring spring potatoes. Salt and a lot of pepper, sometimes wrap them in bacon, then wrap in aluminum foil and put on the coals. Sometimes we bring canned corn and put it in the potatoes with mayo, it’s great!”


*A Cabo San Lucas native is a San Luqeño. A LaPaz native is a Paceño; Todos Santos = Todo Santeño, etc.