Archive for April, 2012

Shrieking, screaming, jumping, laughing, and ultimately a sore face from too much joy

Spent the morning watching the Farallon Islands fading in the distance with an unreasonable dream of seeing a great white shark, I am hard pressed to say if what I did see was actually better or not, but either way it was magnificent.  I walked outside just in time to see 2 humpback whales simultaneously breaching!

Since this is my first account of breaching, my expectations were fairly, well, very low. I expected one, maybe two breaches, and then to be able to watch their blows fade away in the distance. These whales had another plan in mind. Breach after breach after breach, for over twenty minutes, close enough to watch them smack the surface of the water with their flippers.

We continued on our journey north watching the breaching whales fade in the distance continuing to breach as long as they were in view when the captain suddenly started to turn towards them. Thinking to myself if he had turned the boat twenty minutes ago we would have been able to get a much better look at them, I soon realize he was turning to avoid hitting two more whales that were in front of the boat who popped up on the port side so close I screamed with excitement!

It was impossible to get the work day started as the blows from less active humpback whales continued to surround us, and pacific white sided dolphins swam next to us. There were even a couple curious sea lions that poked their heads up.

Simply magnificent. There are no words to express the wonder and joy of watching the whales this morning.

They like to see us just as much as we like to see them.

🙂

There is no better way to cut a work day short

Why does this creature barely fit into the frame?

Because it is the back side of largest creature on earth, a blue whale. Endangered and averaging size between 78 and 88 feet, its heart is comparable to the size of a Volkswagen beetle. We spent the last 40 minutes of work yesterday surrounded by a pod of blue whales, one was not as big as previously mentioned though since it was a calf, courteously being escorted by its mother. All lined up on the bow the shouts rang, “TWELVE O’CLOCK”; “PORT”; “STARBOARD”; It didn’t take long through all the excitement to realize we were surrounded, in one of the best ways possible. It was hard to completely tell since they were surfacing in different directions at different times, but I think the final estimate was 6 whales.

hard to see, but a souvenir photo of a blue whale tail all the same

Like the Panama Canal, the blue whale is something I have always known about, and have always put to the back of my mind assuming I would never see one. But now I have had the chance to see them both in ways others will never imagine.

Baja or Bust

I have been having quite the magnificent time in Baja, and understand why everyone loves it so much here. No one had a day off this week to maximize the time we could collectively get off the boat together, and our hotel manager Anna Marie really spoiled us with all the time we were able to spend ashore this week.

On Tuesday I was able to go out scuba diving with the underwater specialist and my friend Steve. We went diving at Los Islotes where we were able to dive with sea lions. Beautiful playful creatures who were absolutely amazing to watch their speed and agility as they navigated through the water. I also saw a few species of gorgeous nudibranchs, tons of different types of sea stars, and a lot of different types of fish. It was so much fun, and just perfect. I spent the later part of the afternoon at Ensenada Grande, hiking and swimming in the sea.

The sea lions laying on the shore where we went diving

After breakfast on Wednesday we headed into the town of Loreto. We spent the afternoon wandering the streets and checking out the local shops and restaurants. The town was relatively quiet, as most places I visit in April seem to be. Working and living on the boat mixed with being at sea for so long, the hours we were able to spend on shore that day really started to make us feel like real people again. That evening we headed to Ensenada Grande for a beach bar b q which was topped off with a beautiful sunset behind the dramatic Baja landscape and smores around the campfire.

snake body at the bar-b-q

I didn’t have any high expectations for yesterday, but it turned into the most perfectly magical day. As soon as I finished cleaning my last cabin I overheard “sperm whales” on the radio. I of course run onto the deck to watch. I was looking for a huge animal, but all I could see were little specs of something straight out. A pod of pygmy sperm whales; Not as impressive as I believe a typically sperm whale would be, but possibly more exciting since pygmy sperm whales are very hard to spot, almost impossible when the water isn’t flat, and overall a rare site. While following the whales we were also blessed with a ridley turtle swimming by the boat, and the most magnificent manta rays, so large you could spot them 50 yards out. But luckily we were able to view them closer as the glided along the edge of our boat.

Out sister ship the Sea Bird was close by, and after the whale watching, we headed over to met them at the beach. Our journey was interrupted again by some more wildlife viewing, dolphins. We had already watched dolphins for a while in the morning, so I did not rush back up to the deck to see them again. As I was laying in bed the sound of the dolphins chatter was so loud if I had been sleeping it would have woken me up. Alisha ran down the stairs to inform us, “Dolphins!!!!! THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF THEM” as she grabbed her camera and ran back upstairs, closely followed by the rest of us. Sure enough, there were hundreds, if not thousands of them out there. It was absolutely incredible. It was so amazing I find myself running out of adjectives this week to fully explain the wonder and excitement I have been experiencing.

dolphins dolphins dolphins!

From my past experience in Costa Rica and Panama the dolphins typically here our boat and race to catch up with us and play with our wake and ride our bow. During our time in Baja it seems more like we pass an area where the dolphins are and they will come check us out, but do not follow us for long, and stay where they were originally playing.  The massive pod of dolphins we saw was so breathe taking we turned the boat around to have a double take.

The owner of our company Sven has been sailing on the Sea Bird this week with a bunch of friends, (including Chevy Chase) and I was able to meet him when we made it to beach. It was crazy to meet up the rotation from the Sea Bird (whom I worked with in January and February) and spend the afternoon on the beach with friends I typically would not get to see. It was so very cute to see out two little boats anchored off shore near one another.

[Sea Bird (left); Sea Lion (right)

Two of my best boat friends Sarah and Laura got back on the boat today and made my chores go by super fast today. They will be on the boat till Seattle, where they will get off as well as my roommate Elizabeth. 😦

The ship is secured once again. I have been relocated to the 300 deck since life down in my room can be very rough on a regular day. We are headed to San Diego now, and should arrive there on the 24th.

I feel like I haven’t stopped laughing all week, and I hope that I don’t stop any time soon.

<3

8 days at sea and we have made it to land. San Jose del Cabo here we are.

Finished all of our chores early, and sitting at a bar across from the boat. We pick up our guest tomorrow, so we have the rest of the day to ourselves. We are only taking a four day expedition here with our boat chartered out by Rare (conservation group). So hopefully there will be some very interesting people and topics at their meetings.

Other than that my contract is coming close enough to an end that i am exploring my summer job possibilities, and getting excited about the possibility of scuba diving in Alaska.

 

but other than that I think i have successfully bleached and lysoled all the little brain cells out of my head, so it feels good to be on solid land, with the warm ocean breeze, enjoying a good drink with good company.

 

thinking of you all

The green flash is real.

My first sea lion from the Sea Lion

sunset for emmy…

sunset for emmys birthday