Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Natalia Avseenko

Years ago I taught Russian History as a sideline to my Natural Science classes at the college. One of the many things I came to respect in The Russian People was their almost super human physical stamina in the face of a brutal climate. This was/is of course most tested in winter, and was the true agent of defeat for both the armies of Napolean Boneparte and Adolph Hitler. The picture above is not mine but I can vouch for it’s authenticity. The woman you see diving with some Beluga Whales is Natalia Avseenko, a Russian yoga instructor and World Class Free Diver. She had heard that Belugas would not swim with Humans because we were always wrapped up in all manner of synthetic dive gear and therefore unpleasant to be around. She decided to test the theory by diving naked in Arctic waters after a hole had been cut in the ice to allow her access to The Belugas underneath. This picture is one of a handful taken of her during her swim….need I say more.

A few weeks ago, on one of the rare days I can go out to The WZ at this time of year due to wind, I came across a small herd of Dolphins and started singing “Boop Boop be do”. They seemed to like it so I was able to kayak with them for a while as they swam slowly beside me. I’ll have to try that again, it might mean something in their lingo.

More and more “Street Art” is showing up worldwide. Personally, I LOVE IT! For me it is an expression of creativity, joy and hope during a difficult time of change. An era is coming to an end, thank The Great Mystery, and it is nice to see the human spirit continue to flourish.

Went in to Los Barriles with Alan and Marilyn Pomeroy to catch the 49er’s winning their final game of the season and assuring a week off before The Playoffs. Saturday next they play The New Orlean’s Saints, always a tough go for them.

On the 6th I was able to kayak again and came across a large herd of Common Pacific Dolphin. I made a perfect intercept and had them on all sides of me for a good 5 minutes as I paddled along with them. Definitely one of my favorite things to do here in Baja California Sur. Waters are too cold for me to go in at this time of year. Didn’t used to be but the chill factor really gets to me nowadays.

Common Pacific Dolphins

Just finished an extremely well written historical novel titled, “Falls the Shadow” by Sharon Kay Penman. It is the story of the true life Simon de Montfort, a Frenchman who became England’s Earl of Leicester in the mid 13th century and, as much as anyone, was responsible for introducing parliamentary law after centuries of the indisputed authority of kings. Terrific read for anyone interested in the politics, intrigue and daily life in the middle ages.

Simon de Montfort, 1208-1267

On the 8th I took a group of folks out in the panga to help me search for whales. I had been out twice before without success but it was the family and a good friend of one of my past interns, Elizabeth Plumb, and since there was a weather window that day we went out.

Eric, Jim, Elizabeth, Evelyn, Iris

The weather was ideal, Sea as flat as a lake, sky clear and a good number of whales had been spotted just about 40 miles south of my grid during the previous week…..well, longshot but maybe, eh? We went south as far as Los Barriles and saw a number of Mobula doing their acrobatics and a very placid Sea Turtle that allowed us close alongside and even to be petted, that’s rare!

I decided to go out further to deeper water and head back north towards Boca del Alamo. As we were passing Las Tinas Vicente spotted a dorsal fin cutting the water nearby. At first he wasn’t sure what it was but as we got closer it turned out to be a good sized shark. Vicente maneuvered the boat to get closer and the shark seemed to be as curious as we were. At one point it followed us, passed just under the stern and then came up real close to the gunnel on the port side as if to get a closer look at us.

Short Finned Mako

It showed no fear and was clearly not intimidated by the boat. He was close enough to touch but we all were more than satisfied to just look at him “eye ball to eye ball”. I have dove with sharks before but this one gave off such a PRIMAL energy I didn’t seriously entertain swimming with it. Vicente was certain it was a Great White but I was skeptical. I sent the above picture to a number of my colleagues and the consensus is that it was a Short Finned Mako. It was about 8’ long and absolutely beautiful. It was a real treat to be in his presence and feel that primordial energy.

So, we had seen Mobulas, a Sea Turtle and a shark…..not bad. Soon after we spotted a Sea Lion and there was fear that The Shark might just get it but if it did we were not witness to it. AND THEN Elizabeth and Vicente spot……YES, a Humpback, no two!! HOOHAH!! It was not difficult to follow them, they were youngsters and maintaining a classic 3-4 blow series with “flukes up” after the last blow. I got two IDs, HB# 1 12 and HB# 2 12, as my first whales for the 2012 season. HB# 2 12 is the better picture so I'm posting it.

HB# 2 12

I'll leave you with this cartoon, tickled me.


  1. Replies
    1. Perhaps you can take over here when I pass on to The Spirit World, that would be lovely!