Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sailing and birds...

 I've been surfing my arms off the last couple weeks, but I also met another boat of comparable length (a 28 ft Westsail) and we had a bit of a race.  I got a few pictures of their boat (named Slow Dance) and they got a few of mine.  And then, I went for a bit of a birdwatching tour and found myself in the midst of ducks and a nice Kestrel.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

 Here is an unknown kind of flicker...  Can you guess what kind?
 There is a bit of rain in the mix today, and the doves are hiding their necks to keep the rain off.
 The ducks, of course are extending their necks.  Sitting ducks with their necks out.
 Here is the kestrel.  The wind was blowing around from this frontal system that is making its way through.  Its a wonderful breath of air coming off the ocean that reminds me of Bellingham in the winter, but the air is warm and the wind very fresh.  This kestrel was dodging through the gusts in search of some kind of prey and I got him before he zipped away.
So here is a picture of my boat when I was trying to go slow enough to stay with the other guys, that is why I have the furler half in and it is flapping.  

 Now I am more serious about speed and I've got everything flying.
Mexico is treating me quite well this year.  I had a nice exploration through the Sea of Cortez in the fall, and then I did another one with the SEN (which was a great experience) and now the surf is starting to pick up and I feel great about Altair.  In short, life is great.

Monday, February 6, 2017

A new video

I just made this out of the scraps of video I've been collecting so far this fall and winter.  I don't really have a theme, but I liked the music and I like the shots, so I put it together.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Two Weeks on the SEN

 Life has been great!  The last few weeks I've had the chance to take a vacation from my normal life (of vacationing) and go to work (?) onboard the Safari Endeavor.  I put the question mark there, because I felt like every day my job was to play with the good people, rather than to do anything that felt much like work.  It was a wonderful time.  The boat is well put together, and the crew are streamlined and efficient and fun.  We would get the kayaks ready with smiles on our faces, drag things to and from the beach while laughing, and take care of the people as if they were our best friends.  Like a family.  Actually, unlike a family, because families don't ever get along that nicely.  I found out that I will be working on the WEX again this summer, so I am happy about that, and of course I am happy to be coming back to my little Altair again.
So what did I see in the Sea of cortez?  There are lots of American Oystercatchers...
And since the boat is very fast, we were able to go to a lot of different places, even in weather that would make it impossible for Altair to go there.  We went to Los Islotes, where you can swim with baby California Sea Lions, and I did just that.  The first week was pretty easy, the little guys came over and played with us, but the second week they were shy.  I wondered if there was a shark in the area and that is why they were keeping their distance.  I also had a few people who weren't paying a lot of attention to where they were swimming and got awfully close to some big bull sea lions and I had to go get them away.  They do have pretty big teeth!

Every day the sun would rise and set with the glory of the heavens and the earth combined.  Watching it slowly burn the clouds and mountaintops brought a lot of satisfaction to my day.
And we went to go visit the friendly Grey Whales!  Twice now I have taken the trip across (with vans) to the northern end of Bahia Magdalena and found the gentle giant greys sliding through the waters.  Little babies next to their gigantic mothers, wrinkled and clean from newly being born; it was a wonderful sight.

Last Friday we got some difficult weather and were forced into La Paz a day early, so we went to the Serpentarium in La Paz.  I had heard about this place and I am very glad to have been able to go.  They have lots of awesome snakes, lizards, tarantulas, turtles, and birds.  Everything is accustomed to people and I was eager to touch them.  Beautiful life.
Here is a Tarantula on my arm.
A sleepy owl.
A giggling crocodile
A mystical snake
And an intelligent parrot
They collect an invasive species of turtle and so they were packed into a nice pool.  Pretty little things.
We had a nice Pelican land on the back of the boat one day and it turned into a chance to get a good close view.

As well as a view of the Burros that we send people on in Bahia Agua Verde.
Here is a Vermillion Flycatcher, also from Agua Verde.

This is one of my favorite shots, the Tricolor Heron is just attacking a fish, just before hitting the water.
Of course we saw more Oystercatchers.

The second round of going over to the Grey Whales was a very nice day, calm in the morning and cool.  The babies were more eager to come visit, and while nobody touched one, they passed very close to the pangas a few times.

On the way back I got a shot of a crested Caracara taking off.
And then we had a giant pod of dolphins come surround the boat for a long time, clicking and whistling and jumping.  Common dolphin.

And of course a mystery plant for those who want to comment...