Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Trip out to Roca Corbetena

 I just went on a trip out to Roca Corbetana, which is a lonely rock that sticks up out of 500 ft deep water and is very small.  Many people go here for spearfishing, which is my reason, but for me the visibility was not so great.  Still, it was a good learning experience and I think I'd like to do this again.  My friends from Uncruise, Mike and Wilson, came with me and we woke up early (4 am) and left for the trip, with Altair's little diesel chugging along.  We rolled out the jib and used the night winds to propel us along, and actually went quite quick, almost 6 knots at times.  My average was 5, so we got there in 4 hours.  (it is a trip of 20 miles).  Then we had to figure out what to do with the boat, in order to get in the water.  It was super rolly and we found a spot 75 ft deep to drop a single bruce anchor with no chain.  It was a rocky bottom, but the anchor hooked up and held against the 1 knot current and wind.  Then we go in the water and I brought a kayak along with me and towed it behind with my float line and we swam around the rock.  Its about 400 ft long and 100 ft wide, with reefs on either end, and at first there were no fish at all, just murky green water, about 20 ft visibility.  Then we got the the far end and found lots of fish sitting in a warmer clearer current and found a big school of Bigeye Jacks (with a Yellowtail in the mix) and some Milkfish and Rainbow runners and Rainbow Chubs.  I didn't see any real pellagic fish and ended up shooting a rainbow runner because I'd never had one before.   Its a mackerel, and tasty.  Then we finished going around the island without catching any more fish and got out and saw a Black Noddy!  First time I've ever seen one of these, it was hovering around the island, periodically being chased by a Peregrine Falcon that was also hanging on the island. 
In the first picture, zoom way in and you'll see the bill, like a tern, and the funny long tail.  This shot shows the wings a little better.
 Then we pulled up the anchor and sailed back towards the bay, and found 26 whales all over the place, swimming around, flopping and saying hi.  We came back to El Faro to look, and the waves were great so I hopped in and had a nice short session.
Unfortunately I was not the only one looking to surf at El Faro.  This morning as I woke up I found there was a boat on the beach out there.  We went to look and I got this picture.
I don't know the people on board, but some folks know the boat that has been in mexico for a long time, but might have been sold last year to a new family.  I hope they manage to get the boat afloat again, but it was really high up the beach.
There's big surf coming and my dad is going to come in a week, so 2018 is looking good.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Another trip to Isabel

 I haven't been taking many pictures since arriving at Altair, and for that, I am sorry.  But I went out to Isla Isabel this past week and took some pictures, so here they are!  There was a period of weird wind that came from the south and had a lot of rain with it, and it caused a nice morning sunrise, along with some choppy conditions.  I brought along my friend Jonny, who I met surfing a few years ago and have been taking on day sails but never anything longer, and so this was his first overnighter.  It turned out to be difficult, but also beautiful.  It took a lot to get him to the boat, which I had brought to San Blas for easy access to the island, but then from there we motored and sailed a bit and got in just before dark.  The water was clear so we went for an evening snorkel and then slept a little before being awoken by the waves for the rest of the night. 
The next morning we moved over to the west side of the island, a place I had never anchored before, but we found a nice sandy spot and dropped the hook and then went for a short hike to look at the birds. 
 Its a bit early for the Blue Footed Boobies to be laying eggs, but they are looking fondly at each other and lifting a hopeful foot in courtship, and nodding their heads in agreement to how smart they look.  I like the foot lifting dance, it is a way of showing off the color of their feet in order to attract a mate.  Sometimes they pick up pieces of grass and give them to each other in a nesting way, and they will also invert their wings and do a big inverse bow to really impress.  So they are clever dancers.  Not so smart at many other things, but cute.
 The frigates are also waiting on nesting, I saw only a few chicks.  In a few weeks there will be more, when the water cools off a bit.
 A close-up of the boobie face
 And a look at Altair anchored on the west side of the island.
 From here we did some big snorkeling and spearfishing, and it was quite productive.  We swam a long way around the island and I got a nice sized Pargo, which is a kind of bass, and then a tasty Pompano, a silvery fish, and then on the last dive of the trip we headed out to a steep cliffy corner and Jonny wanted to practice deep dives, so I didn't bring a float line or weights or anything, just the gun and my easy fins and as we got around the corner the water suddenly got a lot warmer and blue, and a few minutes later I was accosted by a Dorado (or Mahi Mahi if you like).  I noticed it checking me out, pointed the speargun at it to no reaction, then swam a little closer to really be sure of the shot and pulled the trigger.  I got it just behind the gill plate because I was worried about the spear's penetration but even though it wasn't a kill shot the fish just hung there stunned.  Lucky for me.  It was a big fish and I didn't have my float line so I was worried about trying to wrestle the fish, but it didn't fight at all.  So I swam over and grabbed it by the gills and pointed the head upwards... and had fresh fish!  Dorado is a really good fish and this one was no exception, probably the best fish I have ever caught with a spear.  Isla Isabel always pays off.

So after that we picked up the hook and sailed south into the coming sunset and arrived back in Bandaras Bay the next morning.  It was a tiring time with waves and no wind but a fun trip.
In other news, the surfing has been pretty fun.  I've spent a lot of time in the water and feel really good about surfing.  I'm getting better with my cut back turn and feel good about throwing a lot of spray at the top of the wave. 
I'll be back in Bellingham for the next week for christmas and then hopefully there will be more waves to catch!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Road Trip to Mexico

 Its been a little while since the last post, but I just got to my boat, Altair, after a great road trip down the west coast, from Bellingham to Cabo San Lucas, and then across the Sea of Cortez to San Blas, where Altair is.  I drove fairly quickly at first, and didn't take many pictures of Washington or Oregon, but as I got in to Califorina I found some Elk!  Beautiful big antlered things, lounging on the road, so I got my camera out and snapped a few...
From there I went to visit my sister Rachel, and we went for a short ride together, and I think I finally have found a passion for mountain biking.  I just needed a $5,000 bike to get on in order to enjoy it.  So we went for a fairly tame ride (in her standards) and I had a few brushes with disaster, once where I fell off the downhill side on a steep slope and jumped clear in time to run down the slope and another where I ran the pedals into a tree while trying to make it through.  Compared to surfing, the consequences of trying to squeeze into a small barrel are worse.
I did a small jump as well, and after some practice, I think it looks all right.  I'll see if I can get that to post....

After visiting for a little while and hiding from the huge smoke billowing all over, I headed to the coast and to Moss Landing, where I found my favorite little otters slinking along the beach.
 They don't like to walk, and one was just pushing itself forward and skidding on the sand.  Then we (I had picked my friend Lindsey up at the airport) went to the Monterey bay Aquarium and looked at Jelleyfish and all sorts of things.
 I'd been to this before with Danny, but it was worth a second visit.  Well, not quite worth 50 bucks a piece, but we managed to find someone who got us in for 30 each.  I think its worth the 30.
 We tried to go down Big Sur after that, but the coast was not clear.  There was a big landslide and it hasn't been fixed, so we drove around it and went back north to look at Elephant Seals.
 This one looks like it got bit by cookie cutter sharks!
 We camped at a secret spot in San Simeon and awoke to the clucking of California Quail!
 From there we went to Morro Bay and found some more otters, up close like...
 And to Pismo Beach for some Butterflies.
 Then to Jeremy's place and a short play with his kids before going to the Salton Sea!
 And then crossing into Mexico.  It was so hot it was hard to take a lot of photos, but we went down to San Felipe and over to the west coast again.
 And saw a road runner!  It didn't go Beep Beep.
 Also found some weird Jellies that are blue and I don't know the type.... Do you?
 And then I had a kiting lesson.  I was taking some pictures of this kite boarder and he liked them and offered me a lesson in return.  We just flew the kite and he is a professional teacher in La Ventana, so it was a good lesson.
 Here is a picture of him ripping it up.
 Then we went further south to the area around La Paz and Cabo, and went up a river and found lots of little frogs and some waterfalls!
 and these cool trees that sort of melt around the rocks.
 The trip was a great success, and I had a great time surfing and playing around.  Lindsey flew out to work in Antarctica and I took the ferry across to Mazatlan and then drove to Altair and now am trying to get put into the water so I can go surfing some more.  It is very hot and very humid, as I write this I am sweating like someone is spraying me with a hose.  I am soaked and dripping and still too hot.  I can't wait to get swimming.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

End of Season 2017

 Ok, so this post is gigantic, and I'm sorry.  I didn't get internet for a while, so this is a sort of total last of the season picture post.  I'm also working on a video, to come out a little later.
I saw my first ever Kestrel in Alaska, this one was in Beartrack Cove, in Glacier Bay National Park.  I went for a cool shore/meadow walk up the left side of the beartrack river and found really nice short new growth spruce forest, the kind that comes from glacial rebound and is super easy to walk in.  I'd like to go further up this river some time.
 We also found some brown bears in Tidal Inlet
 And this is a view of Reid Glacier as we came by it.
 We also got a pair of wolves up near Margerie glacier, and this one was jumping over the river.
 After a night anchored in Russell Cut we had a spendid morning sunrise
 complete with reflection

 And then at Bartlett Cove we had a grouse visit
 as well as some Sandhill Cranes.
 We went to Hidden Falls and the bears were in full force
 eating coho salmon
 and looking pretty
 And everything brown was looking cute.  This is a mink.
 Then I kayaked in the Magoun Islands and found some Black Turnstones
 And a pair of Harlequin Ducks (females) that let me get close.
 and closer. 
Then we were in Sitka, got new folks and looked for whales on our new trip.
 And found some deer.
 and I did a cool hike in Florence Bay, up a small creek and through a muskeg to a nice lily pond.
 We went to Hidden Falls again, I did a hatchery tour
 And found some bear cubs!
 The bears were pretty happy, but still jostling for position
 and getting big Cohos still.
 And a few were just lounging around.  This one has a big scar on his face.
 From there we went to Glacier Bay, and I got a squirrel eating a cone
 And on a kayak up the Beartrack River, I found some American Wigeons
 These ones are my favorite picture.
 Margerie at sunrise was nice
 With otters on the ice
 And a Cinnamon Teal
 At South Marble Island the Sea Lions were looking pretty
 And we got a few Horned Puffins
 And then overnight, a Fork Tailed Storm-Petrel landed on the boat and stayed a while.
 At the Inian Islands we got a closer look at the Sea Lions
 And an otter that didn't want to get his paws wet.
 He swam all around us but kept his paws out of the water.
 And here is a look at some Ancient Murrlet's wings.
From there, we got to Juneau, turned around and headed for Ketchikan.  We saw a few Harlequin Ducks roaming around.
 And in Windham Bay I saw a Porcupine on the beach.  I was kayaking and got this little fuzzy hairball shot.
 And some Long Billed Dowichers, roaming a tidal flat.
 With some more Black Turnstones aflutter.
 Then on the last day, in Misty Fjords (Walker Cove) I did a kayak up the fjord and had a nice close look at a kingfisher.
 And a brown bear walked along a river with me.  It was a nice season
 As we got set to depart the boat I got a group photo of everyone.
Now that we are done, they have all become pirates....