Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The past two days have been very good; appropriate for the celebration of The Winter Solstice. Yesterday morning I did a little Medicine Wheel talk and with Alan & Charlie’s help set The Solstice Stone. Lisa & her son Daniel had come over the day before to help me line out The Medicine Wheel. I started “Grandpa Fire” and after setting the stone gave my Medicine Wheel talk. Attending were Alan, Charlie, Lisa, Daniel, Carol & Katy. About half way through the talk 2-3 whales started breaching off our beach so we went up to the roof to observe….very cool.

After finishing the talk I went down to the beach for laps & run and then read the rest of the afternoon. I was then invited to a delicious dinner at Charlie’s clan and retired as usual at “Baja Midnight” (9:00 pm).

This morning I got up and with almost no thought at all, ate breakfast, got my kayak gear and headed for the beach before the sun rose. I went out to the Whale Zone and hung out but no action. The wind came up a bit and I was cold so decided to go in. About ½ way in I hear a blow behind me and see a HB roll right next to a fishing panga nearby.

I hustle over and it is Vicente with the folks from the big house.

They agree to tie me off and we’ll follow the Whale so I can have a close encounter. This takes place about ¾ mile further South where we pick it up again, I am let loose and then I have the wonderful experience of “hanging out” during a close encounter.

I was with it for three blow series and then I tired. My closest approach was about 15-20 feet. It was a young Whale maybe 25-30 feet long. Paddling back against the wind and a bit tired I was nonetheless in an ecstatic state and it was all too good!

My friends on the panga even got a good fluke shot. This will be HB# 2 10 (2010 season)

After coming in I went straight to my friends hot tub and soaked while enjoying the company of the “kids”. It is now 11:00 am and I am anticipating a quiet afternoon of reading….I am thoroughly enjoying my Shangri-La.

Monday, December 14, 2009

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be a benefit sail on The Brigantine Schooner "Talofa" on Jan. 10th, 2010 to greet and honor the return of the humpbacks and support my work with them. For information and reservations please contact Capt. Cactus Bryan at 624-155-7271 or talofatallship@gmail.com

Big day today, happy guy! Went out on my bodega roof with my hot chocolate this morning (mornings are cool) to see what I could see. Within minutes I saw three blows off Los Algodones (a village just south of me) and I took off looking for Vicente. Took me awhile but I found him and we agreed to meet at the boat in 20 min. I stopped by Alan’s to see if he wanted to go and he started gathering his gear. We picked the Whales up in front of Punta Pescadero and followed them for about 2 ½ hours until the wind came up. I got one good fluke ID and plenty of good flank shots. Great to go out the first time in the season and get an ID! There were two males and a female. The males were in combat part of the time with the female just cruising as they do. We saw some spectacular “peduncle throws” by the males and heard lots of “trumpeting”.

This is the ID shot. Taken almost directly into the sun but iPhoto is a marvelous thing on a Mac.

These are two shots of “combat”. The whale on the right is the aggressor.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Well it is now Sunday morning and I am “recuperating” from the last two days. I misplaced my wallet on Friday, losing $200, credit cards, SS card, Drivers license etc. All my fault and it’s going to take some doing replacing everything from down here in Mexico. I do have to admit though that after the initial panic about it I simply canceled the cards (as anyone would of course) did all that I could and then continued my drive to San Jose del Cabo in a meditative state.

Included in the wallet was also evidence of a free night due me at the hotel in SJD. Upon checking in (it is a small hotel frequented primarily by Mexicans and having a tranquility not found at the larger hotels) I explained my situation and after about 15 min of checking they smiled and said of course they would honor it. The staff remembers me from the times I have stayed before and vouched for my integrity. It was really all rather touching.

During the night I agonized over all the worst case scenarios regarding the loss of these important “things” but once again I meditated on them being just “things” and not me per se and felt a lot better. Yesterday morning I went to the beach and did my running and pushups. It was a beautiful day here in The Los Cabos area, truly beautiful. I watched two Ospreys hunt the beach and kept my eyes out for whales but saw none. It is true though that everyone I have talked to in the cape area has commented on seeing more whales earlier than usual. This is a photo sent me by my good old friend Peter Armstrong in Ukiah (a master photographer by the way), California. Appears it’s a bit cold up that way, glad I’m here in the sub tropics.

Later yesterday evening I gave my presentation to about 30 wonderful, attentive and generous people. Their contributions will allow me another 5 times out with my pangero Vicente and that’s what counts. I am deeply grateful to these fine people and their continuing support of my work. It was a treat to be with them last night. Stayed talking well into the evening so thereby the “recuperation”.

Here are two recent photos that I took which you might enjoy. The first is the moon rise a week or so ago. They are really spectacular here over The Sea of Cortez and “The Shining One” always fills me with love for the grandeur of The Cosmos. The other is of a visitor that came by the other day and fell into my foot bath outside my trailer door. Needless to say it caught my attention. I scooped the poor thing out and placed it on the step to dry out and relax a bit. About 15 min later it flew off and I had the treat of seeing yet another of Earth’s delightful….and colorful creatures. Have no idea what it is.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

As long as I introduced you to my mom and brother in the last post I thought I may as well have you meet the rest of them. I have no other pictures to share at this time.

This is my dad Ilmar as a young student. He went on to receive his law degree and then WWII came along and he was deported to a labor camp in Siberia. He volunteered to join an Estonian regiment in the Russian Army and he then fought the Germans on The Eastern Front. He survived but upon returning to Estonia found the rest of us escaped to Sweden. The Soviets would not let him visit The U.S. until I was already 35 and I had never met him. He was a very nice man. We got along well.

This is his brother Yuri. Yuri was conscripted by The German Army and was later captured by The Soviets, sent to prison camp and was shot dead attempting an escape. He was supposed to have been one hell of a jazz pianist.

This is my grandfather, Capt. Peeter Mender or “Piepa” as everyone in the family called him. He was deeply loved by all of us and a wonderful role model for me. He was the hero of “The Panay Incident” that occurred in China in 1938. A movie was made about the incident called “The Sand Pebbles” with Steve McQueen but Piepa was not mentioned in it.

This last picture is of Piepa and “Ami” (Adelaide) with their three daughters, from left, Adi, Leida and my mom Erika. Called by all as “The Mendere Kitza”, the three Mender kittens. All gone now. I was incredibly fortunate to be loved by all of them….and there were more!

So what has been going on here? Winter of course but I am still walking around during the day in shorts and no shirt. The Humpbacks are here but I haven’t been out yet to do any IDs because I have to conserve my funding. That’s OK they will be here for some time and I have two benefits coming up in the next month.

I have become addicted to working out and just came in a while ago from running (never thought I would do that again after HS football) and pushups (never thought I would do that again after the fraternity) which pump up the old endorphins and make me feel that I am not 68 at all.

Looking forward to another great dinner and then some reading. Saturday I give my fund raising presentation in San Jose del Cabo. I am going in on Friday (it is about 2 hrs away) to stay at my favorite little hotel, have a dinner out and “chill” before the presentation.

I feel this is the very best power point show I have ever put together, hope someone turns up!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just feel that I need to put a photo or two up for color. This is an artist’s conception of the “Quantum Foam” that I lectured about for years. It is my favorite theory of Cosmology.

This is a picture of my mother, brother and me just before our escape from Estonia during WWII. My mother passed into the Spirit World 6 years ago tomorrow. To a very great extent her hard work and love made it possible for me to be living here in Baja Sur today. I would like to think that the way I am leading my life now honors her memory......and makes her smile.

A fine day yesterday in every way. The morning was clear, calm and crisp but not at all cold. Perfect for a kayaking day. I e-mailed Alan (who is always ready for an adventure and you really never know what you will see and/or experience once you go out into The Sea) and told him I was going out and then launched around 9:00. I could see the water was really clear and it was going to be great diving on the reef….but first the Whale Zone. As I write this, it is 7:30 pm and the full moon is just coming up, I can hear the Humpbacks breaching out in our little bay. When they hit the surface coming down it is like a thunderclap, way cool. I am too comfortable right now to go out in the kayak and look for a close encounter, perhaps next full moon.

Anyway, Alan and I hung out in the WZ for about an hour and then came in over the reef as we usually do. We anchored at our favorite spot and went in. It was truly grand, one of the best days I have had on the reef and I have had plenty. The water was exceptionally clear and there were hundreds, thousands of fish everywhere. We both agreed that today was a special day on the reef for sure.

Later in the afternoon (around 4:30 pm) while sitting on my bodega roof wondering if I might see a Humpback go by, I saw 2 maybe 3. They were about a ¼ mile out and just south of the bays southern point. Two of them fluked up so I was sure of the species and that there were indeed at least two. It is clear that they are back in my area and perhaps in greater numbers than usual. I did see Vicente (my pangero) in town later and he said that he does remember seasons where they were here this early. I may go out with him next Monday if I continue to see them around.

After fixing myself a sumptuous dinner I got behind the computer to do the post and then I heard the Humpbacks out there dancing under the full moon, how cool is that??