I went kayaking this morning. Not because the conditions were all that good (but certainly not bad), it is just that I hadn’t been for some time and I thought I should check to see what’s moving out there. From shore things have been looking very quiet for some time now. Quiet in the sense of Whales (of any kind), Dolphins, Mobulas, Swordfish, Sea Lions, Turtles etc.
However when one goes out to the “Whale Zone” you just never know what might show up, and of course it is always nice to cruise over the reef on the way in and maybe make a quick dive (a dive in this blog means a free dive, if I use tanks I specifically call it a SCUBA dive).
I got out early, 8:00 am, and paddled into the sun until I was the 2 miles out that puts me in the zone. Then I just wait. It is very quiet out there and extremely peaceful. Recall, I am the only gringo here so anybody going by will be one of the local fisherman who always wave and quickly pass on.
The sea was full of the fluorescent blue comb jellies common to these waters. As I looked underneath my kayak I swear it looked like stars in a dark, dark blue sky……very lovely.
The following pictures are not mine (except for the Mobula), nor the ones of the Boobies, but enhance the narrative and are true to the experience. I still do not feel secure in taking my good digital camera in the kayak, too risky. The jellies are two different species but the single shot is our local Comb Jelly and the pic with the multitude (an Atlantic species) I chose because it captures the mood.
I have found that a sight as simple as that is well worth the physical effort of kayaking out to the zone. Therefore I was already thoroughly satisfied when a small Mobula leaped out of the water and did a double back gainer right in front of me. No matter how many times I see that display I never tire of it or can keep myself from either cheering or laughing.
A bit later I saw about ½ mile away three large birds feeding. The were skimming the water at a low elevation (4’ ?) and then “crashing” into the surface. I am not being derogatory when I say crashing. This is their long evolved technique for catching fish and it has obviously been a successful adaptation because they are still here and doing well. I recognized them as my new found friends The Masked Booby. I tried to attract their attention because I have found them to be curious birds and I wanted to be sure of my identification. I was successful after about 10 minutes of paddle waving as the three together and in tight formation flew right over my head (6’) and took a real good look at me.
I was waving and laughing and of course talking to them and they replied back with a real squawking. Or was I squawking and they talking?? It was really funny and wonderful! Later on one additional Booby flew by and also took a good close look before heading after it’s mates.
I did come in over the reef and dove in the area that Alan and I have found to be particularly rich in sea life and I was treated to swimming with large schools of a number of species but the water was not real clear (at least to what I have now become to gauge as “real” clear) so I didn’t stay long, just long enough to be stung by some creature on my hand. It’s consistency was like that of the tentacles of a “Man of War” but the sting itself was not as potent. It was still on my hand so I thought I would take a closer look at it. I shook it off and it was again a creature of great beauty and one I have not seen before and now also not able to identify. The field guides for The Sea of Cortez are terribly inadequate for the more serious naturalist but it is what it is.
It was a good day on the Sea.
For those who wonder how I pass my days here besides my Sea going excursions, here’s a % by week of how my time is spent, excluding eating and sleeping. This is based on a 87 hr “work” week. This is not a sign of dementia or obsession, it's just for fun!
12.1 %...............Field Observation (Zoology, Botany etc)
04.6 %...............Spanish Language Study
01.1 %...............Gardening (limited due to gnats, usually 3-4 %))