Thursday, September 29, 2016

This is my most recent completed rock art. What a joy it is for me to be able to combine this solid natural element with the fluid beauty of paint. It’s almost like I am extracting the alchemic life of the rock for the pleasure of seeing it’s color. Whew, a bit arrogant but Hell I enjoy the idea.

Sept. 3rd

Very light overcast right now – prelude to something heavier I hope (uh oh). Oh, in my swim this morning I saw my first bullseye puffer in a while and a group of three spotted boxfish plus my Machetes or (hundreds of them that swim with me every morning)? Also guineafowl puffers, balloon fish, blunthead triggerfish, Moorish idol, purple surgeonfish, cortez rainbow wrasse, king angelfish, Mexican goat fish, blue and gold snapper, golden jacks, flag cabrilla. I’m not showing them all but you get the idea about why I enjoy doing laps in the ocean so much

However, when the sea is to rough I am eternally grateful to my neighbors Leslie and Alex Cook for letting me use their lap pool – thank you so much my dear friends.

Before I even started my laps I saw way in the distance off Alan’s point four or five big bodies doing the surfing thing. Too small for whales, too big for dolphins, no high dorsal so not Orca. No chance for better view so still no idea. There are at least half a dozen possibilities and even with my bionic eyes I just could not see enough detail. I was so hoping they were Orcas so I could maybe swim to them. But alas they swam further out to sea.
Here is a really nice video of an explanation of the importance of Marine Protected Areas. This is what I have been devoting my time here for the past 13 years.

Sept. 5th

Expecting a TS (maybe hurricane) right over us tomorrow. Right now very still, little breeze, sea slightly agitated, sky overcast – ominous feeling in the air.

Hurricane Newton (cat 1-2) Strikes at 12:00 midnight w/ intense wind around 3-6am. Rain enough to start 5 leaks in the house. I am busy all night long trying to hold back the leaks. Electric out too so house hot (no fans) and no lights, fridge out. I have candles and a head lamp that breaks right during the most critical time. Nothing to do but swiftly repair it and back to work. Lots of breathwave & meditation to stay calm. Extra lorazepam. Winds literally “rock” the house.

Sept. 6th

After a “fitful” night electric on for awhile while I start cleanup. Electric goes out again around 3:00pm won’t come on again for another two days. My water pump continues to run at minimum voltage thereby heating it and threatening a burn out. I fortunately pass it and hear the fine slight hum, touch it – damn hot! Disconnect the wires and hope that the pump is not burned out.
My kayak has been swept away but found by Luis in front of Jeff’s place, Susan’s in front of Carla’s.

Sept. 7th

No electric all day again. I spent most of afternoon on roof to escape what heat I could. No internet so kids probably a bit concerned. 9:30pm and electric still out. Another really uncomfortable night.

Sept. 8th

Electric comes on at noonish but no internet.
Pump still working – thank the gods!! But a real chore to get it going again. Jose’s young fellow Lupe appears and he helps out – thank you Lupe.

Took a swim in slightly rolly, murky water, only 10 laps, beach way different. Smell of death & decay, palapas down, my car palapa held but tweaked (thank Dr. Alexander), Cook’s palapa tight (luis)

Sept. 9th

Things back to normal – well, almost

Rain has brought out some unsavory critters and I have had two close encounters: one with a black widow another with a scorpion.

The black widow had decided to build her nursery right next to the inside door knob at my bodega. When I went in to check for water damage I happened to glance at the knob just before gripping it and I saw her. Since my stroke my right hand and arm are not as coordinated as they used to be so it took some pounding to finally destroy her. That was close – pure luck. Then when I went to take a shower that night and I see a 2” scorpion on my bath mat. I get ready for another hopefully successful pounding but see it is dead? It must have been under the mat when I stepped on it the night before, had the energy to crawl out but died there. BTW: a week later while reading just before turning out the lights I feel something on my bare shoulder. Thinking it’s one of those pesky ants I brush it off – nope, another scorpion but a tiny one. I have been stung by one of those before and I can tell you they pack a wallop! With sheer luck it didn’t sting me and as it scampered away, I flung my arm with book in hand and actually got it before it got away to try me some other time – pure luck!

But not all the critters have been of the nasty kind. The Millipedes are back, as are butterflies and the lovely dragon flies. Below is a pic I took off Kersti’s FB. I doubt my painting talents will ever reach this height, beautiful, no?

I’d forgotten what a kick it is to read good (or even not so good sc/fi). Sometimes even in the trash novels you find a new theme based on someone’s special perspective of things extraterrestrial and it turns into a jolly good tale. If you read a lot, you also start using terms or turns of phrases that suddenly pop into your writing; like the “jolly good tale” above. I’m reading one of those now entitled Mojave Wells. I’m not recommending it as a must read but if you run across it, give it a shot.

Full on exercise routine this morning with some special, and pretty constant swim mates: Diamond Sting Rays, Machetes and Green Panamic Moray Eels. It sure is nice to have companions.

 We are expecting another storm within the next few days. As of last night the depression south of us continues to build and form. Got in my extra water today, hope to see Jose with my new hurricane shutter also. We have plenty of warning if the net is working so I can get someone to help (Jose, Alfonzo, Vicente, Luis, Rubin) with the shutters pretty easily if I don’t wait too long. I’d forgotten what hurricane season was like – intense when it hits. As I described above.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Incredible, eh?

“A new study has led researchers to conclude that Octopuses (NOT Octopi) have Alien DNA. Their genome shows a never-before-seen level of complexity with a staggering 33,000 protein-coding genes identified, more than in a human being”.

When I was working at the Bodega Marine Lab in 70-71 (as their “collector”) I was also in charge of maintaining the specimen’s lab. These were all live and kept in various size and types of tanks depending on species. One of the professors was working with octopuses and I was able to watch them in action. One of them had figured out how to exit and reenter it’s aquarium through the air filter. You would have to see it to believe it but that’s not all. This octopus then raided the large fish tank across the aisle, snatched some chow and slithered back into it’s own abode unnoticed. For weeks, the professor working with the fish could not understand where all his fish were disappearing to. I happen to catch him “in the act” one night and when it spotted (felt) my attention it simply stared me down!

This is a rather interesting article. I include it because I am a true believer in the infinite possibilities that exist in our universe and even more so in this multiverse that we inhabit. As Stephen Hawkings once responded to the question, “Well Stephen, if what you say is true (Stephen’s thoughts on certain Black Hole phenomena), Hobbits could actually exist somewhere” - “ not only Hobbits but everything and anything that can be imagined actually exits” he replied. With that as one of my guidelines I do not easily dismiss the unusual. My uncle Boris was the son of my great aunt Betty (Elizabeth) and her cavalry Colonel (Col. Maslenikof) husband in The White Russian Army during the revolution. Just a little personal memory popping up. Getting a lot of those lately. Prompted by this article. 


We are getting our first tropical storm warning today (Aug. 7th) and we may get some action here in the next few days – I certainly can “feel it in the air”. The plants will be soooo happy and if the plants are happy the animals are happy. *We got some rain but nothing serious, just enough to bring out the BoBos (Gnats that go directly to your eyes, nose and ears).

How’s this for a crop circle? Again, I remind you that these are created within minutes, in complete darkness, without noise and to this date no perpetrators. Fascinatingly inexplicable!! I am sure that when I pass to the “next” side some of this will be clarified. 

Intricate, no?

My old buddy Vicente came by yesterday to check up on me and told me he had seen a dozen or more whales last week and not just humpbacks but blues and sperms. Too far out (20 miles) for me to track but wow, exciting. Another pangero saw about 20 Orcas just south of me last week the same day I was kayaking – oh to have been with them – just one more swim with them and I will be terribly grateful. 

This swim with them (a pod of about 8 hunters and 4 youngsters as observors) from some years ago convinced me of their peaceful nature. 

Me with Orca

“Caving” has never been something I’ve been drawn to though I have toured Carlsbad Caverns in S. CA. Some of the incredible caves and “spelunkers” that have discovered this vast underground world are both amazing. Here’s an article about some fantastic caves in Mexico and the “lakes” that exist in some spots.

Underground brine lake

I have a veritable Gecko family living in the bedroom. I saw two little ones (1 ½ “) and mama? Out on a excursion the other day. There is one larger one (maybe 4-5”) that I assume is the male. They always make their calls around evening time and I talk to them as best I can – generally just a “hey, buddies”.

This is a pic I took a few years back and one of my favorites. It is a Willet and common here along the playa at this time of year. Birds are so cool.


Here’s a picture that Kersti sent me that is so much the way my day often starts with laps in the sea. 

How I feel before my morning swim

And as usual for this time of yearhe only one on the whole beach. I remember how much fun it was for me, and very rare and special when I was a child to be alone in someone’s pool and just enjoy my connection to the water. Now I have the whole sea in front of me.


This pic has become more relevant to me as time moves on. Such an adventure, no?

 I continue to derive great enjoyment and satisfaction from my “rock paintings”. This is my most recent one and possibly most ambitious one to date. 


I have never lost my fascination and appreciation for Egyptian Hieroglyphs. As Will Durant said, “no culture has ever equaled The Egyptians in turning language into art”. I couldn’t agree more.

When the rocks themselves are works of art the inspiration can be intense.


The pic below MAY be my next project but not sure yet – love the colors.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

To all those I left out to thank in my last blog post – please forgive me. Especially my son Zack who has always been a believer in his father’s “quest” and has come to share intimately my experiences with the critters of the ocean; learning to love and interact with them as I do.

This pic is of us three years ago diving with the sea lions near their rookery at the south end of Isla Cerralvo. I’m the one with the scarf on my head.   

Here are some books I recently finished and recommend highly. The Oracle of Stamboul-Lukas, Firefly Lane-Hannah, Bones of the Master-Crane,A Thousand Splendid Suns-Hosseini, The Gnostic Gospels-Pagels, Unfinished Conquest-Perera. Without TV or in- home internet I read voraciously: lucky for me I always loved to read! Many have suggested I buy a Kindle. Fact is I am also a born Luddite – I love the “feel and smell” of a book, I like pages to turn and the intimacy of it. I like to see them lying on my bed waiting to entertain me and to visit like old friends. As long as there are books there is nowhere I can’t go or interesting people I can’t meet.

Hard to believe this (below) is possible.

 Please don’t tell me it’s photo shopped. If not – what patience and steadiness of hand, there are others even more astounding.

Summer demands a new daily regimen due to the heat. I am up at 5:00am, take a leisurely and light breakfast and then walk down to the beach as the sun rises. I have cut down my beach exercises in half and swim just 10 laps unless really feeling fit. I am usually back at my place at 9:00am, take an outside shower to get the salt water off and then lie down for a read and nap. Go into town, Cardonal, to do any errands, visits, groceries: usually done by 11:00 then more reading or a few hands of solitaire.

Prepare lunch and watch an episode of one of my favorite TV shows (Game of Thrones, Vikings, Deadwood, Outlander, Orphan Black......some for the 4-6 time). BTW: anyone coming down this way who can download this year’s episodes of the above (or others you may deem interesting to me) and puts them on a thumb drive or external hard drive for me to download here will receive my eternal gratitude. Back to reading then walk to my internet connection around 4:00 and return around 5:00 because I am getting tired by then. More solitaire (good for the coordination in my right hand, wrist and arm – victims of the stroke and I simply enjoy it.)

A glass of red wine....maybe two, prepare dinner, another episode along with dinner, in bed by 7:30-8:00, read myself to sleep. That’s the way it’s going to be for awhile until the critters start returning in November.

Speaking of critters I have a family of Geckos living with me in the house (through the graciousness of my Q’s I have been invited to stay in their home instead of the trailer). For those of you who have seen their home you know what a pleasant place it is. The Geckos are fantastic to watch, make little noise and hunt all kinds of unsavory critters that might otherwise be an annoyance. I also have at least two Spiny Tailed Iguanas living just outside and of course the usual menagerie of lizards and small snakes....oh, and lots of chipmunks and jack rabbits. As usual at this time of year the local cows are free ranging closer to the ocean for “greener pastures” and causing an unpleasant din with their cow bells and their propensity to stretch their necks over the fence to get at anything green. I have no love for cows!

Hurricane season has started and though nothing nearby so far they are marching right along one after another out on our Pacific side.

July 20th I went out with Alan kayaking.......and , yes again I called in a whale. I believe it was a Brydes or maybe a fin. There is more to this story – “again” means half a dozen times – honestly!

I always told my classes at the college that “of course there is other life in the universe, more likely within our own galaxy and probably in this solar system”. I said that if found I would throw a party and we would toast the new paradigm that would necessarily ensue, especially being able to dump all the religious mythologies that have so barred our evolution as a species. Well, we are getting closer but the party will have to be down here – I find long distance traveling uncomfortable at best, The US is not the country I remember and I tire easily (except when I am swimming), HAH.

800 yr old seeds found intentionally stored for “the future” by people of the Menominee tribe of North Eastern Wisconsin, known as the “Wild Rice People” by The Ojibwa (Chippewa). Yet again an example of true connection to the earth.

On the 25th while swimming laps I was surrounded by a large school of “Machetes” that stayed with me as I continued my swim, circling me the entire time – really cool!

About swimming: I was taught early by Clive Devine (Olympian). After an initial deep fear of putting my head under, my uncle Van held it under and when he let me up I was hooked – never, never could get enough of swimming. Oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, creeks and of course pools; on top of or under didn’t matter, I loved it!

In high school I excelled at water polo (a combination of my two favorite sports – swimming and basketball). My first coach was Nick Biondi, father and trainer of his Olympian son Matt Biondi (he told me that if I continued to improve my skills I had a chance for the ’64 Olympic squad – alas, love found it’s way to my heart and I lost all my discipline). My second coach was Bob Gaugran an Olympian himself. Both stressed conditioning so we swam “laps” till we barfed. After my playing days were over I vowed to never swim another lap again in my life! Well as most of you know swimming laps in the ocean over the reef is just about my favorite thing in the world to do. Here in El Cardonal I have the greatest lap pool imaginable and to think of not having it available as I continue to age is daunting. It is just a short walk to the beach (though a cane is now necessary to navigate the stairs) and I am in the arms of Grandmother and all else is forgotten.

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time”.
Jack London, Jack London's Tales of Adventure

Today, July 30th I swam laps straight out to the reef and back so I could visit with the little critters – delightful, even had a bit of an adrenalin rush when I realized the current had me but I just let the endorphins kick in and it was nothing but good. I am blessed indeed to have this as my home.

A new addition to the Q’s home; a stairway to their roof where I can sleep under the palapa with the cool ocean breeze and watch the “light(ing)” show during this hurricane season – thank you my dear friends. The Hopi style ladder was getting a bit difficult for me to climb safely. It was not of course for me that it was built but I know it was part of the decision process.

A local critter

Baby Spiny Tailed Iguana

Thunder and lighting time coming. My mom always told me I had that as part of my personality – in German “Sturm und Drang”. Particularly during the period of the Viet Nam war.

First of this seasons massive and magnificent Thunder Heads. When they are black is when the fun starts.

The other day I looked out to sea in the morning and the surface literally looked like silver and pewter. I walked to the bluff to photo it but this pic just doesn’t do it justice – it was beautiful. Nature does such amazing things with color. Certainly when watching a sunset here it is as though Maxfield Parrish had painted it. All those Parrish paintings many of us collected (posters of course) during the ‘60’s and we thought were part hallucination were not so at all – he really did capture the essence of those special visual treats provided by nature. 


 Here’s one of my favorite pictures of me and my favorite pangero Vicente Lucero “back in the day”. I think this was our 2nd or 3rd year together. In our best year we collected 82 photo ID’s of the humpbacks here.

And here’s a final visual treat (not my pic though). Now after looking at it closely I wonder if it is photo shopped – I hate having to consider that.


Sunday, July 3, 2016


I will be 75 this coming November and find myself mentally navigating the ocean of my years and seeing the good, the bad and the ugly: the squalls and the doldrums and wondering at the path I have taken. My mother told me when I was just a very young boy that I probably would be happiest if I found a cave somewhere high in the mountains and spent my life in meditation. I wasn’t anti social - just looking for something of real meaning. I have come to discover, albeit a little late in the game that I could have paid better heed to her and to others like Kahlil Gibran when sailing through life’s unpredictable ocean.

How very true this simple message has been for me during the past few years. But then I am a great believer in trying to be “up beat” so I often ask myself........

So I look to people like one of my top three icons who have provided so much in the examples they have given me.

Jane Goodall has been an inspiration to me from the time I read her first book and discovered a person who had found real meaning in her life and continues to literally bring peace and love into this troubled world. 

This is a picture of a little bridge I built years ago on the path to my rocky stairs down to the beach. I can’t use it (both bridge and rocks) anymore due to the effects of the stroke so use my neighbor’s stairway to the beach. “it is what it is”, right?

This is the Mayan glyph Etznab denoting the concept of “finding Peace” (among other things). Something we could all use, eh.

Talk about finding your bliss. Check out these photos by a couple who are devoting and risking their lives - literally and figuratively to recording the beauty of the sea and its creatures. They do all this as “free divers” (no SCUBA). The quality of these photographs does justice to our friends in the sea.


And how about this surprise to another photographer! I think you will be surprised too.

I have seen a total of 4 humpbacks go by this June. That is not unique but it is kinda late in the season so quite rare. One I was able to get fairly close to but the others were too far out and I was not in my kayak. Such a joy to see them even though I know they won’t start coming back till November. I chose the pic below (from a different time entirely) because I imagined it as a good-bye wave.

Before leaving the whales I suggest you read the article in The New York Times, “A Conversation with Whales”, opinion section, Sunday, April 17th, 2016. Delighted to see that other researchers are extending the boundaries of their interpretation of whale sounds: something I mention in my book and that supports the idea of a vast communication existing between whales....that could include us!

As I have said before, if it were not for whales I would certainly have chosen wolves to work with. Aren’t they beautiful.....and so intelligent.

Well, I did it! Took me 5 years but I completed my reading of Will and Ariel Durant’s magnificent epic, “The Story of Civilization”. There are 10 volumes, each around 700-800 words. I say this not as a boast but as a thank you for their absolutely wonderful success in providing an articulate, intelligent, humorous and astute run down of history. I can just imagine what it would have been like to have it as a textbook. It has been my boon companion in the evenings for these past 5 years: never have I enjoyed the written word more.

And never have I been more convinced of the truth of Voltaire’s

Statement (included in the volume titled: The Age of Reason: The Age of Voltaire) as I read the series and began to see the consistent folly in man’s pursuit of power and glory.


Then I receive an image from my daughter Kersti in respect for my pursuit of knowledge and all the negative get’s blown away.

A few choice astronomy related articles:

 It's long been thought that a giant asteroid, which broke up long ago in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, eventually made its way to Earth and led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. 

New studies say that the dinosaurs may have been facing extinction before the asteroid strike, and that mammals were already on the rise. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For a long time, it seemed that a mission to Mars was out of reach, off the table, and nobody was really talking about it. Now, we have two separate programs aiming toward an eventual mission to Mars. Could this be the new space race? But instead of capitalism versus communism, as in the original space race, it’s government versus private?
In the end, it won’t really matter. We just want someone to get there. And we want an established presence. A colony. Our survival may depend on it.

“Elon Musk”

Planet 9, an "exoplanet"?

One of the most revolutionary studies from recent months, also with computational simulations and participation of French institutions, was led by the researcher Alexander Mustill from Lund University (Sweden), who raised the idea that Planet Nine may have come from outside the Solar System, that is to say, that it could be an exoplanet.

I will end with a few thank you’s to some people who have gone way beyond “the call of duty” to help me out so that the work I do with “The Whale People” can in fact continue. It’s been a lot about health these past few years so....Thank You: Kersti and Bill for your kindness, hospitality and care at my hardest time - To my son Zack, always honoring my work, caring for me when the need be and joining me in my work here for an amazing three month father - son experience, Tanya, Macy, Jackie for your advice on food and supplements - Susan Janssen for so many things but one I definitely needed to hear “take risks” - Carla and JC for your unconditional friendship - Leslie and Alex for the many kindnesses and generosity over the years - Nancy/John, Bonnie/Nole, Frank/Diana, Juanito for your “courier service” from The States – Robin for teaching me the “breath wave” technique – Charlie/Lisa for your encouragement and understanding – Alan/Marilyn for their constant and unwavering support, Pam, Christina, Christine – Isa....well, you know. To Drs. Toledo and Alexander, Char, Edgar

And all of you that have kindly and generously donated to my work.

And to my neighbors: Rubin, Luis 1 & 2, Jose, Alfonzo, Felipe, Alexis, Samuel, Cesar, Juan Rubin, Vicente, Ishmael, Roberto, Herminia, Diana, Luce, Jose Luis, Santiago, Javier, Ezekial, Valentina and to those whose names I have forgotten.

To you all I owe your willingness to accept me for what I am – thank you!