Archive for November 19th, 2009

The Sea of Cortez

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

What a difference a few hundred miles makes. We started to see evidence of a change in the marine ecosystem in Bahia Santa Maria, reef fish were appearing among the rocks but the water was no warmer than the Channel Islands and we still had Garibaldis and other California coast rock dwellers.

Forty miles up the inside of the Sea of Cortez a full complement of Indo-Pacific reef fish, including a surprising variety of puffer fish, were enjoying their communities in extremely high salinity, very warm water, with a bit of live coral. We must confess that one big trigger fish is no longer enjoying his community (he was a glutton for deck squid on the one-eyed lead head hook). It will be little consolation but he played a very important role in tonight’s banana coconut curry. The deck squid was particularly hard working, we trolled him about 60 miles across the southern tip of Baja before converting the remaining part of him into trigger fish.

The range of fauna over the transition from north pacific to tropical waters in the past 48 hours has been remarkable. On the outside we caught two sharks, a baby Great White and a Blue shark, and we could have had a huge sperm whale. We did not keep any of the three although K is 30% regretful that we didn’t eat the Blue shark. The little Great White gracefully de-hooked himself after a look at the transom and the net. The sperm whale sounded right before we got to him, but we weren’t really trying.

It was a good passage with light winds and seas. The Leonid meteors were spectacular. We made landfall at Cabo Falso and sailed past Cabo San Lucas last night on a perfect beam reach. The city lights shimmered like a smudge of gold dust between two black mountains. The north wind was thick with 700 miles of desert heat and the smells of humans. Its a little hard to believe we made it even this far. As with all owner-operated organizations, great things are done in small increments.

23°22.82’N 109°25.37’W 19-Nov-09 18:59 PST

23°22.82’N 109°25.37’W 19-Nov-09 19:46 UTC

Bahia Santa Maria to the Gulf of California

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

We were entertained by a variety of wildlife on our final jump southbound along the west coast of the Baja peninsula. 

This pair of…um…black and white forky-tailed birds performed an aerial ballet for a while.

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Boobies of the red-footed type would buzz us repeatedly, fascinated with our rigging or seriously longing for a lounge in our spreaders. A particularly boobish one miscalculated a high speed approach, bounced off the jib and landed in the sea. Its a good thing we don’t have any big glass windows.

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Then one afternoon we heard some un-seabird-like chirping, and soon a small seafaring songbird came in for a landing.

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We assumed he stopped because he was tired, but the real reason soon became apparent. What do you do if you’re flying over the ocean and have an itch on your butt?  Find a ship of opportunity as soon as you can.  We were glad to oblige, it’s completely impossible to fly with your head up your arse.

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Now, K has reported supposed “whale” sightings on his watches before, but this time he had some pretty good documentation to back up his claim.  No one was hurt in the observation of this whale by smacking their heads on the bulkheads during an all- hands call to enjoy whale watching.

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We were glad this huge sperm whale showed no interest in our bits of string and hooks. He did sound on one side of the boat and surface on the other but he probably cleared the keel by a thousand vertical feet.

23°36.98’N 111°39.46’W 18-Nov-09 12:00 PST