Monday, February 25, 2013

Another "sailor take warning" sunrise!

On the 4th of this month I had my first kayak encounter with a whale for this season. I succeeded in intercepting a whale a bit out from The WZ and when I got to within about a quarter mile I discovered it was a fin whale (first I’ve ever seen). I eventually got within 50’ of it and it was a beauty! They are the second largest of the great whales – not exactly rare but unfortunately endangered. It was an honor to be compadres for a few moments.

Fin Whale

I was also visited by a group of dolphins that day and had a great swim in over the reef afterwards.

Common Pacific Dolphins - this pic was taken two years ago

The next day I saw three humpbacks from my roof and hustled down to the beach to launch my kayak (it’s about a 10 min. drill), but for the first time ever I was turned back by the wind at about 1/8 mile out. I may be obsessed but I ain’t stupid!

On the 8th it was a perfect day for a search but due to a mix up in scheduling (that I’m still pissed off about) I couldn’t get out to The WZ in a panga so I went out in my kayak. In just ½ hour I encountered four humpbacks (would have been four certain ID’s) and one Bryde’s whale. I got real close to two of the whales. One of them never did a flukes up and I was able to kayak next to him for a good mile or more. We were separated by only 10’ most of the time and never further away than 20’ – that was sooo cool! I talked to it the whole time, sang a bit, chuckled a lot.

Humpback up close

The 17th was my first time out on a search in the panga. Did the full grid but not a whale in sight. I went out again on the 19th, this time with my friend Ishmael and we came across three humpbacks. I only got one ID - but world class – and he has been adopted by my good friend Marilee Spurlock in Hawaii. His name is now “Beethoven”.

"Beethoven" - HB# 1 13

When Ishmael and I got to where the other two whales had been breaching they were gone. It was all about, “one bird in the hand…..”

Went out yet again yesterday (the 24th) but not a blow anywhere. We did however come across a herd of hundreds of Common Pacific Dolphins, quite a sight!

My "other" family - The Q's, went out with me yesterday. From left - Antoine, Jean-Luc, Quentin, Brigitte, Tristan.

 Next window of opportunity looks like next Sunday or Monday – big wind today and the rest of the week.

Check out this video of a “calving” glacier back in 2008 – impressive!!

On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.

Back in 2006 while looking for a publisher for my Indian ethnography, one of the reviewers suggested I turn the manuscript into a historical novel. I worked on it off and on till last year when I handed it over to a new friend, Lance Larson, who had more expertise in dialogue than myself. Well, he finished it and it is now available on Amazon as an e-book. Check it out.

My first, perhaps only, attempt at fiction.

Overall things are going rather well for me, I am most pleased with my health at this point and the health and happiness of my two much loved and respected children – Kersti and Zack. Here’s a little ditty that Kersti puts as a post script on all her mail – brings a smile to me every time.

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's about learning how to dance in the rain!" 

Kersti always ready to go with a smile.

Kersti at University graduation - attitude!

 Kersti recent - still smiling!

And look what The Estonians are doing!

Estonian flag - blue illuminates a bright future and represents the nordic sky, black is a reminder of the people's past struggles and represents the earth (or soil), and white represents the efforts of the people toward enlightenment (the literal translation is "toward the spiritual light") and represents both the snows of winter and the bright summer nights.

Here are a few extraneous shots:

My way of relieving the tensions of graduate school - 1968


If we don't care for our oceans, the rest is immaterial.

Here's hoping!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another windy day on the east cape

Well, we are having quite a winter down here so far – lots of wind and a bit colder than usual. It is of course the season for north winds - after all Los Barriles, just south of me, is one of the kite surfing centers of the world - but we are getting longer periods without a break, like 15 days. That makes it impossible for me to kayak, snorkel or even swim laps because the sea is too rough….and forget about seeing whales! Please do not feel sorry for me - I don’t. You don’t get to live the life I do without some occasional inconveniences. I just spend my time reading and writing. My spiny tailed iguana “Isabella” that lives in my driftwood condo hasn’t been out for a stroll in weeks. The Reptile People don’t do well in this kind of cold.

Sunrise before the wind is up

These winds were great for the annual Lord of the Wind competition in Los Barriles on the 15th. I didn’t go this year but I heard it was pretty exceptional, world class competitors, strong winds, friendly people….all good.

The good people at Land and Homes Realty in Los Barriles hosted two presentations of my whale work last month and I am scheduled for another at the end of February. Full house every time – very satisfying and great fun for me. Thanks again Pam, Carlynn, Blake and David.

It appears I may be writing an article each month for “East Capers” a local gringo paper starting this month.

On the 20th and the 23rd the wind died for a couple of hours and enough for me to do my laps. I swore after years of lap swimming in HS that I would never do another yet here I am religiously getting into the water every other day for a workout. Somehow it’s way different without a coach yelling at you and also being able to look at all kinds of sea critters as you swim (I always wear my mask/snorkel). Had a nice swim with a sea turtle one of those days and a small group of infant Mobulas on the other. A full wet suit is necessary for me at this time of year, my body just can’t take the cold like it used to.
This pic was taken last year, same gear all a bit older

Both of those times I had to really force myself into the water but I realize that it is ABSOLUTELY necessary that I not give in to laziness regarding workouts. I know that my body is my temple and I need to keep it well toned if I expect to continue to live the quality of physical/mental/spiritual life I demand. Each time I come out of the water after my laps I turn to Grandmother Ocean, raise my arms in salute and feel so friggin' good!!

Oh, just a little side: there is an asteroid coming by on the 15th. It will be closer to us than the moon, only 14,000 miles away from what I have read. Those of you who can relate to cosmic distances know the significance of this event. It will not come into our atmosphere and therefore will not be seen as a meteor nor should it have any influence on our planet. I believe that it will be visible with high powered binocs if conditions are perfect. It is about the size of two freight cars.

Asteroid 2012 DA14

Speaking of things astronomic, I hope you all saw the conjunction between the moon and Jupiter on the 21st. Pretty impressive. I forgot it was happening and luckily looked up at the moon that night and said to myself, “what the hell”. Then I remembered and just took in the beauty of it for a while.

 Moon and Jupiter 1/21/13

 If I hadn’t become a biologist, I would have probably become an astronomer, or anthropologist, archeologist……

"Wolf Moon" off my roof

I saw the other day some of the media around gay Boy Scouts and the dilemma regarding it. Homophobia is such an ignorant and evil phenomenon. I was a Boy Scout back in the early 1950’s and used to go to scout summer camp in the mountains outside of the Bay Area - Camp Pomponio. I was a very sensitive kid and also very shy so never felt particularly at ease there. One year I did find a great companion. He was like me in many ways and we both had a kind of Tom Sawyer-Huck Finn approach to life, in fact his name was Tommy Baker. We enjoyed just taking off in the woods, exploring nature, pretending to be Indians and generally doing all the things we were not supposed to do. I was assigned a tent with four guys that I came to dislike highly, as they did me, so one night I snuck into Tommy’s tent and slept with him in his sleeping bag. Well, when a bed check was done and I wasn’t in my rack a major search began and eventually I was found in Tommy’s bag with him. After that things got a little weird at the camp for us, yet the amazing thing is that Tommy and I never got it! We never realized that our relationship could be viewed as anything but just two good friends enjoying the hell out of each other’s company. My poor brother Peter, who was a counselor there at the time, and though he never said a word, he must have been terribly embarrassed for me. The point is not that we weren’t gay, the point is that if we had been that it should have been seen as WRONG, it was indeed so beautiful and right.

 On the 26th I did get a 4 hour break in the wind and I hustled out to The WZ. No whales but a few Mobulas and one small Hammer Head Shark that erupted out of the water nearby – beautiful creature!

This is winter kayaking. The picture was taken in 2005 before I brought my own kayak down. I can't believe that this was taken 8 years ago. I feel stronger, healthier and more spiritually centered now than then.

I finished Will Durant’s first volume recently and went straight to the book “1491” for my “study/cocktail hour”. For any of you who would like to really understand the American Indian presence in the western hemisphere prior to Columbus must read this book. I finished that last week and am now into Durant’s second volume, the age of The Greeks – FASCINATING!! He begins with The Minoans, my second all time favorite culture after The Egyptians…..excluding of course my number one favorite, The Estonians.

The Minoans predated the ancient Greeks and were a people so sophisticated that even The Egyptians considered them unique and due special respect. I had the good fortune of seeing first hand some of their art and artifacts while touring the island of Thera (now Santorini).

Winds are supposed to lessen during the next week and it looks like there may be some kayak time around Thursday. If so, I’ll be out there!

A couple of last words – not mine but I sure do relate!

 Singin’ and Slidin’