Archive for April, 2013

real world

It was amazing to spend a few days in Seattle.

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me and my little home

I was able to get my passport renewed in less than 24 hours, enjoy a good cup of coffee, and even get to give my first tour of the boat ever to Batman! I had an evening off of work and we hung out in an area of Seattle called Fremont, caught up on old times, and chatted like we’d never been apart.

We were also docked next to the Sea Lion for the better part of the day and the company ordered us a a food cart to the dock and we all ate outside together. It was great to see people I haven’t seen since last year, as well as people I love that I only get to see occasionally on the boat.

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It was amazingly refreshing to walk around the city by myself, see the first trees I have seen in 3.5 months, and even watch a cute fuzzy caterpillar walk around in a park.

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North like a whale

bow riding

bow riding common dolphin

We have accepted the advice from the great humpback and gray whales, and have started our yearly migration north. We sailed away from the dock on Saturday afternoon, out of La Paz, and headed south out of the Sea of Cortez. The last few weeks have been full of memorable beach combing, snorkeling, and scuba diving, but it was impossible to ignore the unending agitation the sea of Cortez seemed to possess about us still being there. The water has been more calm out in the Pacific Ocean, as were are currently 30 miles from shore, than the Sea of Cortez has been for the past 3 weeks. It was time to go, and she let us know.

We are still currently off the coast of Northern Mexico, and will be heading into port and customs in San Diego tomorrow morning.

The humpbacks that we have been viewing all winter are said to only travel up to British Columbia, and summer there. We will be heading all the way up to Alaska (after a brief stop in Seattle) where we will meet new humpbacks that have spent the winter frolicking in Hawaiian waters.

The positioning trip thus far can be deemed uneventful, which in most cases is quite better than the alternative.

jackpot beach

had a little over an hour to go beach combing and snorkeling today and look what i was able to acquire.

beaches here are ridiculous

Yes I am still saying awesomeness

It is Friday and nearing the end of this two week photo voyage we have been on. The pure awesomeness that I described during the first half of the trip has been exponentially achieving new heights of awesomeness every day.

We are on day 11 of our trip, and we have already seen 11 different species of cetaceans. I would have felt grateful to experience seeing 11 different species of cetaceans over the 3months I will have spent in  baja, but to see 11 in 11 days and have very good looks at all of them is more than amazing. ! have also acquired two new species of sea stars for my collection, as well as a paper nautilus.

Yesterday Alberto and I went diving at San Pedro Martir in conditions I can only describe as salp soup. The water was murky and the water column was completely saturated in gelatinous membrane. There was this mysterious, but overwhelming majestic feeling swimming through jellys in the dark water with the rocky bottom completely covered in plant life. It felt strange like something you could only feel from looking at a picture in a magazine, not something that you would actually experience. This could have been thoroughly enjoyable and serene if it were not for the extreme numbers of sea lions swimming with us and having their curiosity grow the longer we were in the water with them.

We did not end up staying down too long, but I believe it was good that we got out when we did because I don’t think either of us knew how bad we had been stung by the hydroids in the water. I am currently completely covered to the point of blistering on my legs. Last time we were out diving I got stung on the lips and it made my tongue numb, so I am thankful to only be stung on the arms and legs for now.

Short finned pilot whales

Short finned pilot whales

The afternoon intentions were “at sea” with “…sperm whales…???” written next to it. So although I did not get my hopes up too high to spot a sperm whale, I had been looking forward to this afternoon of the trip all week long. The first thing we spotted on our at sea afternoon was something much more exotic to the area than sperm whales, killer whales. Off in the distance we could see the large dorsal fins rising out of the water, but as we got closer the view was a little more confusing. The killer whales did not seem to be traveling in a particular direction, and there seemed to be something else in the water with them. We got closer only to realized that there was a pod of 10-11 sperm whales in the water and that the killer whales must be trying to attack one of their young. Away from the group charged a large male sperm whale, traveling at such a rate he created his own bow wake while smacking his fluke on the surface and headed straight towards the pod of sperm whales and killer whales. The sperm whales then formed a rosette with all of their heads facing towards the middle and the young sperm whale protected in the middle [much as musk oxen do].It was not long after we showed up, and the adult male sperm whale charged the killer whales that the killer whales left the area.

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After the killer whales “retreated” or “gave up”, the sperm whales came out of their defensive positioning it was easy to see that it wasn’t a young sperm whale at all, but a very small baby. There is no way to know how long the killer whales were there harassing thesperm whales before we arrived, or the full reasoning on why they left, but I don’t think there has ever been a photo cruise more content with the swift departure of killer whales.

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Off in the distance we began to see fins breaking the surface, which turned into an extended visit from a pod of short finned pilot whales, traveling with some bottle nosed dolphins in the mix. With all of the larger baleen whales we have been watching this trip, it was pretty amazing to see 4 species of toothed whales within an hour. The pilot whales stayed for as long as the light did, getting close to the sperm whales who stayed in the areaand allowed us to get continued good looks at them all. The sperm whales did not seem impressed with the visit from the pilot whales, but how were they suppose to know the sperm whales were having a stressful day?

sperms

watched a blue whale as the sunset this evening. Tomorrow is a new week.