Sunday, June 29, 2014

Galaxies and more galaxies!

This is the newest deep space photo taken by The Hubble telescope...and in true color. These are NOT stars, they are GALAXIES and they are all within a very, very small region of the space around us. Each one containing billions of stars and each star possibly (more probably) home for a solar system.....and there are some who think we are the only inhabited planet in The Universe. Don’t you find that odd?

 "Grandfather" rising - June 21st, 2014

BTW this was our star on the morning of The Summer Solstice – “Grandfather” according to The Huichol. I never fail to thank Grandfather and Grandmother (The Ocean) after a day at sea and under the sun.

New discoveries regarding the humpbacks of the world’s oceans coming partially from the data collected during the SPLASH program that I was involved in from 2004-2007. Ah.....field biology and knowledge – love it!

“A new genetic study has revealed that populations of humpback whales in the oceans of the North Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere are much more distinct from each other than previously thought, and should be recognized as separate subspecies. Understanding how connected these populations are has important implications for the recovery of these charismatic animals that were once devastated by hunting.”

Now here’s something a bit chilling. There is a proposal to “frack” near many of The National Parks (Teddy is rolling – NO THRASHING in his grave). Chaco Canyon happens to be one of the MOST sacred sites on the planet. This is Anasazi country and if you haven’t been there do yourself a favor before it’s too late.

Pueblo Bonito

Went out night kayaking on the 22nd and forgot to place my blinker light on the rocks near my haul out. By the time I was ready to return it was way dark and I couldn’t make out the shoreline. I knew where I was but there’s only one really good place to come out due to rocks (not good for the kayak bottom). I just kept paddling in the basic direction and then I was able to distinguish the site by sound and silhouette of the house roofs. Another fun and non-threatening adventure.

This is not my photo but I have been here. Three years ago Zack and I got in with three humpbacks and about forty dolphins while out getting ID’s. The water wasn’t this clear but we were this close. Talk about a rush! I read recently that this kind of “escorting” is often done just before a whale is born.

Dolphins "escorting"

Speaking of whales and Zack. We ended the season with 52 ID’s, a number of magnificent breaches, a lots of other swims with “critters’. He was a fine companion for the season and is now back in his world in Oakland. His 3 ½ months down here were valuable to both of us. Here are some final photos of him before he left on June 9th.

 Zack and the cantina dog - "Clifford"

For you Zack:

Que les vaya bien, hijo!

Here are some local “critters” that make my life ever more enjoyable.

Horned Lizard - not sure which species

 Desert Chipmunk

Three Turkey Vultures and a Caracara

On June 9th Zack and I left Mexico to join our extended family in Yosemite to celebrate my brother Peter and wife Julie’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was a grand reunion in every way and I was deeply touched by the sincere respect and love with which I was treated. I was also able to walk around the valley at my leisure and revisit some of the many special places and the memories they elicited. I spent two afternoons at the same lodge pool where Peter and I swam our hours away in absolute bliss for the many years mom took us there on her vacations.

"The Family"

My trip north ended with the traditional gathering of the “Four Musketeers” (Frank Denney, Bill Symon, John Erving and myself) for dinner in Palo Alto, California where we grew up. No photo this time – can’t believe that but I’ve got a 55 year HS reunion next year and just might make it up there again.

Ready to go home after a great 10 days in The States.

Poolside with neighbors in El Cardonal the other evening. That’s my dear friend Nancy Hensley and me enjoying the sunset.

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. – Cherokee