Sunday, July 26, 2009

This is just a token whale shot because I have nothing new of interest photograph wise. This is a Blue Whale 'fluking up" that I ID'd earlier this year.

Boy is it hot! We have not had a day under 98 degrees in weeks and most days it is 100 or more. Though my energy is somewhat sapped I have to say I like it. Believe me when I say that all I wear down here is shorts and a hat (night or day). No shoes of any kind unless I am going across sand at midday and no shirt unless I am going into town....oh, and always a trusty wetted scarf.

For those of you who did not follow up on the dragonfly migration, I checked it out online and yes of course it has to do with mating and birthing. Our dragonflies here arrive as young adults in the winter and then head north to start a new generation around this time. They are a bit early perhaps but every critter out there is adjusting to the incremental climate changes (soon to be substantially more dramatic) preceding the planetary "warm up".

It is now 5 days later and there are still more dragonflies passing by (not in the same numbers but at least 10/minute)!! Meaning that there must have been 100's of thousands that have passed during this week. Very

Wind has been up the last few days so no sea time. Did get to watch my ST Iguana chow down on some Yuca Vine ( Merriema aurea) blossoms today, I've never seen that before.

Friday, July 24, 2009

For those of you who have been down here to El Cardonal, this is probably your last look at the old main street. Chances are the next time you are here it will be paved, have sidewalks and street lights. Personally, I am now OK with it. Is it not true that the only absolute is change?

On a very different note, the past two days I have observed an early morning dragonfly migration that I assume is related to mating. Literally thousands of dragonflies have past over my palapa on their way somewhere north of here ( I counted 45 in one minute in my limited field of view = 2000+ in one hour). I estimate that in the two mornings that I observed, at least 10,000 dragonflies must have passed the palapa. Entomology was never my expertise so I don't know much more but it is a sight to see. Not exactly on the level of the famed locusts but pretty impressive. The photos don't do it justice at all. One of my reptile friends could only dream he could get up there to catch one. Not a single dragonfly landed in all the time I watched.

The reptile I speak of is that Spiny tailed Iguana perched on the very end of the fence post on the left eye balling a passing dragonfly. Going tank diving on the reef in about an hour.

Just came in from the dive. Excellent as always to be able to take time to really get up close and look at things. Very calm, visibility good, water warm and a good dive partner. What more could I ask? Compared to my days diving for the Bodega Marine Lab on the California North Coast it's truly heavenly!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Went on a real nice hike yesterday into one of the canyons leading up into The Sierra La Gata. One of my village friends, Luice, invited me and Alan to see the spring on his Rancho. This is a 24/7, year round spring of crystal clear water coming out of the arroyo very near the Indian paintings about 1 mile away. I am pretty convinced that this was a sacred area for those early inhabitants.

It is a truly beautiful little oasis. It was a very hot day yesterday (102 degrees ? on the way back) but Alan and I got an early start and of course the "oasis" was refreshing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Two of my new friends among the "Reptile People". This is the way in which my Huichol mentor, Tomas, refers to the various "Classes" of critters I was introduced to as an undergraduate student in Zoology. I like his way better!

Interesting creatures, reptiles.....and beautiful, no?

Zebra tailed Lizard
Orange Throated Whip Tail

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just a personal note regarding the statement in the previous post about photos. Many people have asked me why I don't have an underwater camera to record these wonderful swims I'm having with "The Critters". There are two answers to that: one is that I quite frankly don't have the money to purchase a camera right now and secondly (and more importantly) when I interject the camera between myself and the "action" then I don't get the benefit of the immediacy and intimacy of the "action". I have heard the same thing said much more eloquently by others and it is quite true. You cannot record and BE at the same time. I realize it is a bit selfish of me but for now I'm OK with that. Know that I carry all of your love and concern for them as I interact with them.

Vicente spotted a Humpback the other day....going North. It may have been the one I wasn't able to identify (too far away). There are still whales in the area, if I had my own boat I would certainly be out there searching. Going out to the Whale Zone again soon, maybe tomorrow....who knows, eh?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

North end of the village of El Cardonal, pavement work, argh! Sidewalks and lights too. Fortunately I am far enough out of town to still be on dirt road and not to have to deal with it unless I go "into town".

Just a quick note; all photographs are my own unless noted in the text.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bottle Nose Dolphins
* I did not take these pictures but they are very close (literally and figuratively) to our swim this morning

Alan Pomeroy and I got out to the "Whale Zone" at around 7:30 am this morning. Alan beating me by about 1/2 hour, hearing the blow of a whale that I was able to see from my launch site but he couldn't see. I couldn't get a species ID but I'm pretty sure it was a Fin Whale. When I described it to the young lady who works at the local hardware store she said that she saw three last week while out in a panga and the locals call them fin whales, so.......

Anyway about the dolphins. When Alan and I met up in the zone it was flat and clear but very little action. A few Mobulas and that was about it. I was thinking of hitting the reef for some snorkeling when I thought I saw some black specs moving in the distance. I directed Alan to them and we agreed that they must be dolphins and they were coming our way. We geared up and made for an intercept point. We put it together perfectly because we ended up right in their path as they arrived. We bailed out and each did what we could to have a "close encounter". Delightfully we both succeeded (it was Alan's first CE with dolphins under water in the wild). These pictures come close to the experience. I don't recall asking Alan about the mom/baby but they came by me for a close look see. Alan said at one point he followed 4 of them into the deep. I remind you, I did not take these photos.

We were both very stoked and finished our morning diving around the reef. It is very hot down here (high 90's and into 100 degrees) and right now are spent in the shade.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spiny Tailed Iguana

Big day yesterday. I wasn’t quite ready to get to my laps after the other day’s jellyfish (colony actually) episode so I found a bunch of gardening to do. I don’t really have a garden per se. Mainly, but not exclusively, I try to encourage the desert plants to grow as big and beautiful as they can be. Mostly this just means pruning, watering and fertilizing. I am beginning to see the rewards of my work and it is truly satisfying.

I also have a new companion. A young Spiny Tailed Iguana has taken up residence in my large piece of driftwood I call “El Dracon”. I haven’t named him yet, I’ll have to wait and see how his personality manifests, but I am delighted! He has a friend living there also (I am pretty sure it is a Black Tailed Brush Lizard) though he might eat him at some point.

By the time I was through in the garden it was hot and I needed a swim. So somewhat reluctantly I went to the beach for my laps. Well it was of course extraordinary in every way. The water was crystalline, no wind, warm and not an Agua Mala in sight. Nevertheless after every 50 strokes I stopped for a look see (they are easy to spot, always on the surface).

Also did some early evening planting (yes I do add a new plant occasionally).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Portuguese Man 'o' War (Agua Mala)
* not my photo

A word to the wise. If there are Man "o" War Jelly's around don't get cocky! Went out to do my laps this afternoon around 3:00, checked the beach and the water for them (none I could see but this is their time of year) and proceeded to swim. All fine right up to the last 40' of my return and wham I swim right into one (2" is moderate for The Sea of Cortez); and a big one. It's tentacles wrapped around my neck and as I plunged out of the water they moved to my throat, back and side....then legs. I have to tell you I was hurting! I had a tube of cortaid creme and some benadryl in my bag on the beach and quickly applied it and drank down the bennies.

I had welts all over and I was in some serious pain but I knew I had caught it early enough to prevent real trouble and I have been stung before so I knew I was not allergic....nevertheless. I am so very glad I took the time a few weeks ago to have those items on hand both on the beach and when I kayak. I suggest you keep this in mind.

Outside of that little episode I have been feeling great and am thoroughly enjoying the tropical heat here.