Sunday, August 29, 2010

Not much of real adventure to report on but I like to keep somewhat current seeing as this blog is becoming more and more the record of my life at this time. I still write in my journal occasionally but only very private things for my kids.

I will start by throwing in a picture taken in 1962 at my family home in Menlo Park, California. That’s me sitting on the floor with a pipe in my mouth (I was a collegian after all but not yet radicalized) at bottom left. I am 21 and the event is my grandparents 50 wedding anniversary.

Their three daughters are seen, two on either side of my uncle Van (top, who taught me how to work with my hands and instilled the “work ethic” in me…also taught me how to ski, bless him) and my mom in red. My brother Peter is sitting next to my grandmother and seems to be in pain of some sort. Below him is my cousin Redik. Sitting behind me is my great aunt who was the “Bohemian” in the family and tried (with much love and little success) to draw me into the occult. She had been married to a White Russian Colonel during the revolution and after he was killed in battle she, by herself, found her way back to Estonia from Vladivostok. Amazing woman. I am quite sure she would be proud of my journeys in the occult after she passed on. Of course that’s my grandparents in the center, Peipa and Ami (nicknames), the people who were in charge of my well being while the rest of the family was at work. Fortunately for me they had both experienced lives of adventure and yes…. real danger, so I was given complete freedom to do and be whatever and wherever I wanted to. Perfect situation for a kid of my temperament!

Some nature notes: no great migration of the skimmers this year. I am wondering whether it has not been humid enough. We have had one small rain and though two hurricanes have been in the vicinity they left us little in the way of water.

There have been whales about. Vicente saw a Humpback about two weeks ago, Antonio saw two Fin Whales (second largest of The Great Whales) the other day and I saw a blow from my kayak about the same time; must have been The Fins. Antonio also said that some Orcas were seen a week ago but once again I am not in the right place. I am going out in my kayak tomorrow or the next day and perhaps I’ll be lucky. Here’s a picture of a Fin Whale, not my pic.

Relevant to this is the very good news that a multi-billion dollar development just north of Cabo Pulmo has been indefinitely halted due to permit irregularities. This is a direct result of local community action down here and is incredibly heartening.

Staying on the nature theme here’s another picture, once again not mine but so close to what I experienced that I am using it. This is a large school of Herring very much like the one I swam through the other day while doing laps. Just a million shimmering critters all around me…fantastic!

My reef work is coming closer to actual fieldwork. It has taken me (with the help of Amber, Jeanne, George and Cindy, Alan and Marilyn) only 6 years to get to this point…”perseverance furthers”, no?

Hurricane Frank has passed and is crossing north of us over to The Baja Peninsula as a small “tempesta”. There is a possibility of another development in the next few days from south of us. It is after all the Hurricane Season.

The most dangerous adventure of mine recently, actually occurred today. I was driving back from another gifted weekend at The Grand Mayan (thank you John & Nancy) and drove right into the middle of one of Baja’s major “off the road” races. Since much of what used to be the totally dirt road Baja 1000, 500 and then 250 is now paved with the races necessarily taking place partly on the old dirt tracks and partly on the paved highway (this is a road that is one lane on a side, about as wide as a typical residential street and with no shoulders). The cars look like this, again not my picture!

Well, around Santiago I got stopped behind a bunch of cars and could see ahead that there were people all over the road and dust and lots of highly rev’ed engines. I discovered that I had reached one of the many sections of hwy where the competitors had to use the paved road to get to the dirt tracks. I watched with fascination and some trepidation as cars such as the one above came at us at 80-90 mph to do almost a 90-degree turn into the desert and disappear in clouds of dust. I got out of my car and wondered what it would be like for just one of these cars to go out of control or lose it’s brakes right at that point. I was amazed to see people sitting, standing just 10 feet from where these cars were careening past. I asked the fellow with the flag when I could proceed and he said about 15 minutes. I thought OK the race in this part of the hwy would be over so when he flagged us ahead I was confident that the hwy was now mine and safe. No way…. I drove about ½ mile and the next groups of competitors were on the road. This time I was on the road too but going right at them. At first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Coming at me (no one was in front of me) were a number of these cars, driven by competitors who had visions of T & A, booze and endless amphetamines…and who saw me as “in their way”. The first guy that passed me was pissed, the second gave me the finger….so I pulled off the first place I could and chilled out. Once again I proceeded but found to my consternation that every time I got back on the hwy more of these guys were coming. I got to Los Barriles alive (with many heart stopping moments) and found that that was where the race started. I bought groceries and drove to El Cardonal, my sanctuary.

1 comment:

  1. Now that sounds like my luck. Imagine all of the things in life that you're able to take advantage of-not sure what you were driving that day, and you slide into a Baja race driving an old pick up truck...
    Anyway, I saw the story of an whale talker, a man who follows intricate songs, stories, patterns of lingo inspite/despite of one's formidable humanity with an whale...(was interested in songs/writers/linguists of the whale's barkings)Nice site~Matthew D. Horton(Sparrow)