Sunday, October 24, 2010

I am happy to announce that my website is back. Unfortunately the domain name is slightly different and now does not match my brand new business cards. The difference is minor but of course determines whether you can access it. So here is the new one (note the dash between 2010 data is not up yet but again I am hoping it will be before the year is out.

A number of whales have been seen in the area recently. I have not been fortunate enough to see any of them myself but it is very early in the season and these are either resident whales or perhaps whales that did not go the full distance to Alaska and instead did their feeding in California and have returned early. They are not all Humpbacks but some Fins and some Bryde’s from what I can gather.

It has of course enticed me to go out to The WZ and see what’s up. Yesterday (Mon. 18th) I came across two groups of Pacific Common Dolphins, jumped in with both groups, one veered off and the other I got to see underwater for a few seconds. Short as it was it was well worth the kayak out just to be with them for even a bit. An added treat to yesterday was that when I went in with them I was at about 900’ depth so the Sea is just this vast blue field that gets darker real quick. There happened to me thousands of little fluorescent blue jellyfish out there and to me, looking straight down, they appeared like brilliant stars in a cobalt sky…very cool!

Well, I couldn’t resist going out again this morning and had my second most fun Dolphin dive ever. Numero uno goes to my dive with my son Zack in March where we went in with about 40 Bottlenose Dolphins and 3 Humpbacks for a little “close encounter” swim but today was special also.

I went out a little after sunrise and paddled leisurely out to The WZ, meditated for about ½ hour and then scanned the horizon for activity. Seeing nor hearing anything, and with the wind coming up, I decided to head back in. Before doing so I put a thought out to The Cetacean Nation to come by for a visit. I also wanted to swim for a bit and see if I could attract any curious critter; I usually don’t swim in from 2 miles out but the water was just too inviting not to so I started in. Before going in I thought I heard a fairly good sized splash nearby but couldn’t see anything jump. There was also a Magnificent Frigate Bird stealing a fish from something that I assumed was the splash (seal, Tuna, Bonito???).

So I dropped in and began to swim….it was delightful and I felt very, very relaxed and strong. At about 4 laps the Sea was beginning to get choppy and my snorkel filled so I decided to get out.

Sitting in my kayak and readying for the paddle in, I suddenly saw two dolphin nearby and I got the feeling they had been curious as to what this swimming thing was. I went right back in and though I knew they were very near I couldn’t see them when I dove down.

I got back up into my kayak, saw they had moved a bit, followed them and then went in again. I looked below me and there ahead of me and about 15’ down was a single dolphin maybe 20’ in front of me. I started swimming toward it and as I closed on it, it turned and came towards me.

Not my picture but certainly captures the moment

As it approached to about 10’ I waved, dove down towards it and it swam a bit away. Then it went up for a breath, I followed and we went down together. It came closer and I again went towards it and we did this for about 5 minutes. What I realized while all this was happening was that this was not a Common Pacific Dolphin, Spinner or Bottlenose….this was something different.

I tried to focus on it’s appearance but I was so into the moment that I really didn’t get all the info I should have (as a “scientist”). Now having checked my field manual I am 90% certain it was a Rough Toothed Dolphin; first that I have experienced but not at all rare in the area.

It finally dove deep and it was time to end the encounter (wind still coming up). By the time I got over the reef it had died again so I swam another 20 laps in and was treated yet again by seeing a Zebra Moray Eel, what a life, eh?

On the 21st we had a bit of a quake in The Sea of Cortez a little ways above La Paz. I was in my trailer taking my morning rest after a sunrise exercise session, reading, and I felt the trailer start to shake and saw the palapa outside moving. Being from California you get used to this kind of thing so I enjoyed the second and third tremors and realized once again how secure I feel in my Air Stream. Apparently it was a fairly good sized quake (6.3 I think) and not surprising since The Sea of Cortez IS THE CRACK BETWEEN THE NORTH AMERICAN AND THE PACIFIC PLATES. My son zack e-mailed soon after to check up on me…sweet.

The hurricane season though not officially over does not seem to have anything more in store for us (famous last words?). I see nothing on the computer for at least the next week and by then the waters will have cooled enough to discourage formation. The season was very short with the last “event” being Georgette, which left a fair amount of rain but hardly a “Chubasco”. Last year we got as far as Hurricane Rick (alphabetically) that could have been bad but veered before reaching The Cape Region.

Although my Spiny Tailed Iguanas are still around (the eldest having been recently named “Zeus” by my adopted grandson Quentin), the lizards have been more scarce this year. No where near the number of Desert Iguanas I used to see. Same with Orange Throated Whiptails or Zebra Tailed Lizards. Nothing implied, just different. I did however get treated to a fairly rare (in this region) Western Skink. Very handsome little fella, eh?

Western Skink

The last few times out in my kayak I have also been visited by Least Storm-Petrels. One stayed with me for about an hour the other day while I was out at The WZ; just me and the bird staying within 100’ of each other. They fly very low to the water and remind me of bats though a slight bit bigger; same wing beat.

Least Storm Petrel: not my pic

Speaking of kayaking I went out on the last full moon and enjoyed the special peacefulness of The Sea at night. There were some Mobulas out there but not much of anything else. To be directly in line with the moon and it’s beam on the water, with everything still around you and the kayak rolling with the swell is extraordinaire!! Next time I will wear my kayaking suit; got a little chilled out there (did have the smarts to take a light windbreaker though).

I am having incredibly insightful dreams almost every night. It is as though a window has opened in my mind and all my experiences/emotions are being reviewed and analyzed. So far not too many dark spots; but some for certain.

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