Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Local fishermen "rescuing" an entangled Humpback Whale

Two weeks ago yet another whale “rescue” took place here in Mexico. Again, a migrating Humpback had gotten entangled in a drift net near Loreto, where just last year my friend Michael Fishbach had rescued “Valentina”. Unfortunately we can expect more of this as the “engineered” need for more fish food prompts longer and longer drift nets and long lines. It is also the reason I carry 2 knives and a good pair of heavy weight shears in case we run across an entangled whale during a search. I always have my dive gear on board so, if necessary, I’m in the water.

HB# 5 and 6, good day!

On the 12th I went out with my friends Phil and Luise and we got ID’s on Humpbacks # 5 and 6. It was a beautiful day with lots of dolphins and Mobulas all around.

Dolphins riding our bow wake

We were all ready to dive with the critters but since it was early in the morning and wind chill can get you after a while we didn’t. I try to go in for a swim with the day’s last whale encounter so we can blast right away to the beach, home and a hot shower. I’m getting old I’m afraid, I didn’t even use to think of that!

Had a bit of a fiasco with my water pumps last week. First my main pump from the cistern started to leak, then my trailer pump. I fixed the trailer pump and decided to have my friend Jose Martin fix the leaks on the main pump. Well, he ended up breaking the front casing on the pump. After all was “said and done”, a ½ hour job and about 75 pesos of material ended up as 3 days without water and 435 pesos of materials. Does it ever ALL work out just like we wanted. Rhetorical question of course!

Here’s a little treat for you. Check out this artists creativity. Be sure and see the whole gallery to the end.


Garden Sculpture gift from Phil and Luise

Phil and Luise brought this beautiful piece of Cholla Cactus driftwood AND this equally beautiful and fine whale vertebrae to me as a gift before they left. I have placed it near my favorite sitting space and added the Komodo Dragon (a gift from my dear friend Rebecca Kress) as a guardian. Now I have decided to invite visitors to bring a favorite feather that they can hang on the cactus to remind me of my friends as their spirits dance in the breeze in front of me. Thank you Phil and Luise, a delightful gift and very thoughtful indeed!

My Quebecois are back!

My extended family from Quebec have returned to their home here on our land and are busy enjoying Shangri-La. It is such a delight to have them here, I am blessed. Jean-Luc, Brigitte and I kayaked out to The WZ twice last week and though we saw no whales we were treated to a major herd of Pacific Common Dolphin that swam through us in groups of 20-30 at a time. All together there must have been 100 or maybe even more. It was such a sweet image to see Brigitte sitting sideways on her kayak, legs dangling in the water and her sweet voice laughing with the pleasure of the moment. Jean-Luc dove in and was swimming amongst them for a good half hour. I love to see them enjoying the critters as much as I do.

On the 26th we went out in Vicente’s panga for a look see. With us this time were two of their three sons, Antoine and Quentin. Tristan is in Norway as an exchange student for the year. Within 15 minutes we spotted whales out about 3 miles and found two groups of two. For a while we went from one group to another to get the most immediate shot. It turned into quite a chase but after a couple of hours we had two more ID’s and were deep into the southern end of my grid. One was a calf and wouldn't fluke up and one simply didn't "cooperate" in fluking up.

HB# 9 12

HB# 9 on his side (one fluke up) with a dolphin just above his head

As we were returning north we got a radio call that there were two Humpbacks well north of us near Boca del Alamo. We hustled off and found them very close to shore and in front of San Isidro. Turned out to be a mother and first year calf (born here this year) and the first of the season for me. The mother would not “fluke up” because her baby was too young to dive deep so I didn’t get a fluke ID on her but did get a good series of flank shots that are very valuable for further study.

Mama, HB# 10 12

Calf, HB# 11 12

Yesterday morning, Feb. 28th, I was starting some water to my garden and I heard some heavy whapping sounds coming from the Seaward side of my land. I climbed on my bodega roof and there was a male Humpback doing a series of powerful tail lobs just outside the reef line (1/8 mile out). It was too cold and windy to go out for an intercept but I grabbed my camera, ran the 100 yds to the bluff above the beach and got this lucky shot.

Breaching Humpback, about 600' off shore

He was clearly signaling to all around, “I am here and ready for action” (that being wooing or fighting….or maybe sharing a song!). Shortly after this picture a Caracara (the true Aztec Falcon in the legend that became the symbol on The Flag of Mexico) flew by and I got this shot. Great way to start your morning, no?

The Caracara

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