Sunday, June 10, 2018

First Two Weeks

 My first two weeks on the Safari Endeavor!  I had a nice time with Glaciers
 A few eagles
 Arctic Terns
 and Semipalmated Plovers
 And more Arctic Terns
 We went to Kake, a native village where they taught us about canoe making
 I found an Elephant Seal in the middle of Fredrick Sound
 Found some whales too
 And some Dall's Porpoise
 And Otters
 And I had a nice close time with a bear
 Real Close
Some other bears from a kayak

 And Marbled Murrelets
 And a super Blondie Bear

 Chewing his Cud
 Baby breaching Orca
 Crewmember Jon
 Porcupine in a tree, scratching his bum
 Baby whales
 Baby goats
 Old glaciers
 Falling apart
 And the view at sunset in Glacier Bay

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Spring Moku iki Trip

 I just got back from another trip on the Moku Iki, and am going to work today.  First off, I've got a few pictures from the Ski to Sea practice, and since its ski to sea day today, here they are, of Monica and Bryan getting ready for the bike and canoe legs.
 Then, I just got done with a 7 day trip aboard the Moku Iki, the little 28 ft Albin that belongs to my friend Danny, and I took Lindsey out for a spin.  We saw some Brown Bears!
 And A few Scaups!
 And here we are in a meadow in Ford's Terror!
 This is Windham Bay, on the day with some sunshine...
 So I had to take a few pictures.
 Here's the boat in Port Houghton, with a bear in the foreground. 
 And a toad
 And an Arctic Tern.
 We anchored right next to the shore, because it drops right off.
 And a Red Throated Loon
 And two Moose!

 On the way back we got some Dall's Porpoise bowriding for us.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Video of the wintertime highlights

So I just compiled a video of the highlights (captured by camera) of my winter driving down Baja and sailing and then driving back up through California.  I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

North through the West

 So this is the trip from Los Angeles (I managed to get out of the Hotel California!) up to Bellingham.  I had a few days of rest at my brother's place in Southern California, then had a nice Easter there and picked up Lindsey the next day to drive on northbound.  We first went out to Joshua Tree to look at the desert, and found a Coyote lurking in the shade.  I've always like Coyotes, the long ears and wiley tails, concocting various plans to catch the roadrunners of the world...  Mostly, though they just roll away over the hills and disappear. 
Joshua Tree was really nice, fairly green, but also very crowded.  Possibly it was spring break for everyone but I've been very surprised at how many National Parks are packed with folks, and it almost makes me want to avoid them.  A pity, because they are nice places.  We managed to find some small corners to hide in and get a bit of solitude in the desert. 
From there we drove north and east and found ourselves in the middle of the Mojave, and found some interesting lizards.  This one, I was sure was a Gila Monster, but it had been a while since I looked at a book and so I didn't know what I was looking at.  Not a Gila Monster.  Such a pity because its kind of monstrous.  Anyway, its a type of Iguana.  I guess the mouth is very Iguanic.  I didn't check its iguano. 
 Then there was this little hansom guy who did push-ups and whipped his tail around and scampered from place to place.  A zebra tailed lizard.  I like this view of his mouth, he looks like he's about to talk. 
 Further north we found a place to camp among some boulders that seemed a lot like Joshua Tree, but was just a corner of nowhere and along a dusty road found some bunnies.  We would have liked to have some rabbit stew, but they were wary (as we can see in the picture) and this jackrabbit kept his distance.
 Then we dropped down to Death Valley and scraped our bellies on the bottom of the world.  This is The Devil's Golf Course and its made of salt and wind and a tiny bit of moisture.  Its hard, like rocks, but reforms in little spray patterns like frozen waves.  Really pretty.
 Then we climbed through purgatory pass to emerge in a little slice of heaven.  The Owens' River Valley.  At the south end there is an old salty and somewhat dry lake with some Avocets, and then we worked our way up and north along the eastern spine of the Sierra Nevada.  The Sierras slope up from the San Joaquin Valley and get taller and sharper as you go east until they hit a sudden drop down to this valley, its like an old plate boundary.  (Perhaps a terrain boundary)  Anyways, it was neat to see. 
 Then we climbed up to the highest part of the valley where it has formed a bowl and in that bowl is the windblown weird lake called Mono Lake.  I recall reading about this in Ranger Rick back when I was in grade school (maybe 8 or 9) and how LA was sucking water from this lake and making huge dust storms and it was a terrible tragedy.  In fact they were just taking water from the rivers that feed the lake but that is still too taxing on the watershed, and the lake dropped something like 50 ft.  Its a huge wide shallow bowl, so 50 ft is a giant patch of lakebed that showed up and that was problematic.  Recently they have changed the water rights and the lake is filling up again, but its still short of the goal.  The water is green and mysterious (nastily mysterious?  Sort of like a magical booger or something that you don't want to touch, but maybe just a tiny part of you does want to swim or taste...) 
 And there are these calcium carbonate things that stick up everywhere from fresh water springs coming up and mixing with the alkaline water.  The fresh water has Calcium, the lake (which is salty) has carbonates, and they make this chalky stuff when they meet. 
 Mono Lake is just east of Yosemite, but its over a big steep tall hill and you can't drive over that in the winter or spring.  So we drove north, west, and then south and then east and finally got into the Yosemite Valley.  Of course I'd been here once before, 10 years ago and I've seen this kind of thing in Alaska, but wowzers it was cool.  I can see why so many people go there and why it is super famous.  The waterfalls gushed like cold Norse gods vomiting magical fairy dust from the high places of the world.  Just before we arrived the valley was flooded, but we got lucky and it was open (with wet places) when we got there. 
 The falls do impossible things like jump from the top of a seemingly flat plateau and over the brink of eternal drop, turning to misty fog on the way.
 Lord Nelson liked it
 We got up early from our camp spot outside the park and drove in at dawn, and found there weren't many people up or moving yet, so we had the feeling of stillness and having it to ourselves.  The flooded meadow made for good reflection
 Some deer were chewing their cud and awaiting the sun and I got some good film that I will hopefully make into something soon of them chewing, swallowing and then hurking it back up into their mouths to chew again.  Good close ups.
 All the animals there are really accustomed to humans, so this indifferent squirrel was refusing to look at me when I was trying to get pictures, but you can see the ears are still listening for the sound of food dropping on the ground.
 We went for a hike and I found that I am starting to feel old.  It was about 8 miles and 2500 ft of elevation up and down, and my knees hurt the next day.  The waterfalls sprayed out their joy all over the trail so it was pretty wet going, but nice to see the falls from close up.
 This is Nevada Falls
 A closer look at the water being obliterated
 Up on top of the plateau we had some nice big bent trees and it was much warmer.
 So Yosemite was grand.  It felt great to go from the desert and the brown of Baja and Southern California into the green of the valleys of the sierras.  Spring was coming!  Spring is here!  We spotted a robin and it was confirmed.
 From Yosemite we drove to my friend Dennis' house, near Sacramento, to visit.  He is the Captain of the Shamaness, a lovely ketch that I'd met in Mexico years ago and had seen every year, except this last one, so I figured I'd go visit him in his house in Rio Vista.  He and his wife, June, also have another boat, a Catalina 30, in the San Francisco Bay, and they offered it to me to borrow, so I sailed over to Sausalito and picked up my sister Rachel and her kids.  Here we are looking at the Golden Gate...
 And imitating the bridge. 
 From the Bay Area, we drove north into the Redwoods, and found some nice clovers...
 and up a lonely road along the Lost Coast we found a little alder grove with Elk in it.
 The Elks were content to let us get close and watch them.  They just chomped up the green. 
 There must have been a big flood to wipe everything out some time ago and the trees have all grown up at the same time afterwards, so they are all the same height and evenly spaced.  Its definitely on my list of places to go again.
 The rest of the trip was a pretty quick zip on by (and it started raining) but I made it up to Bellingham and am now getting ready for the Alaska season.