Intro video for our talk at the Anacortes Boat show this spring: https://youtu.be/QF2BRIXvGgM
Not too long ago, we visited a Frigate Bird mating colony. They were putting a considerable amount of time and energy into selecting their mates and establishing their personal identity.
For the last few days, small fish have been spawning en masse and dying, spent, in huge piles on the beach.
The Frigate Birds have lost their mating fluffery and are feeding on the dead fish before they wash ashore. The birds hover over the water and reach down, plucking the floating nutrition from the sea without getting anything wet but the ends of their beaks.
So, to recap, those that chose their mates carefully are leading lives of leisure and beauty, while those that spawned anonymously and recklessly are washing up on the beach dead.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
There was a guy with the Boeing Employee Airplane Modelers club that had a train wreck of a model that he would take to schools and fly at assemblies. He’d break it, stick it back together, and fly it to show that flight didn’t require perfection.
This turkey vulture agrees with him. Perfection is reserved for God.
We call these army ducks. They may be grebes, although they look a little small. They swim down together and, I imagine, do damage to whatever they prey on. It’s fun to watch their perfect surface-dives as they leap completely out of the water. We also saw one duck that worked alone (probably Force Recon or Rangers). He would swim right next to the boat, then dive and work the bottom by himself. Pretty cool to watch..
So we was exploring Bahia San Gabriel, just north of La Paz, when we saw this huge stack of frigate birds. So we walked underneath it, on the beach.
Frigate birds are legendary for their soaring ability.
Supposedly they can stay aloft for months.
But these guys would swoop down and dip into the brush and weeds.
First we thought they were eating the legendary Baja Face-Eating-Spiders, but then we saw one come up with a mouth-full of grass. Nesting!
The next day, completely by accident, we found the rookery. Hundreds of these magnificent birds stuck in bushes and acting like idiots. Sex was the only plausible explanation.
Clearly, aerodynamics is not the only part of this bird affected by his…desires.
There were lots of birds trying to be this magnificent, but most couldn’t find their footing.
This guy did OK, though.
This may be some sort of prep area, where they get their game straightened out.
Epic. Really, truly epic.
Odds and Ends from the Mexican Informal Tourism Bureau.
We’ve anchored off beautiful, clean sandy beaches backed by miles of beautiful wild dunes full of nothing but jackrabbits and some incredibly fast burrowing lizards. It took us three days to decide they weren’t kangaroo rats.
…and face eating spiders. Here’s Nancy wielding the spider-clearing stick. We also try and follow the dog-trails, hoping that the dogs cleared out the spiders during their daily rounds. Dogs, by the way, are extremely non-linear. We see a lot more Mexico this way.
Insert obvious but culturally insensitive joke here.
Wicked-looking clam. The hole in the end was drilled by the same nefarious moonsnails we have in Puget Sound. They kill a lot of shellfish down here, too.
Three days and nights after we passed under Deception Pass bridge headed west, then south, we’re anchored inside Coos Bay, in the sun, with no wind.
We thought about rounding Cape Blanco and anchoring in Port Orford, but a large storm somewhere else is bringing a big big big SW swell to the California coastline now through Tuesday. We didn’t want to round Cape Mendocino under those conditions, and Coos Bay looked much nicer than the options south of Cape Blanco.
For a fun bit of imagining, find an underwater map of Cape Mendocino and imagine 15-20′ big ocean swells coming from Hawaii and add 15′ wind waves (close-packed) coming from the north. Add 15-25-35 Kt. winds. Too much fun for me.
The trip south has been remarkably calm. We’ve motored the whole way, except for a bit of gratuitous sailing last night after dark when we had to kill time so we arrived at Coos Bay after dawn. I doubt we’ve seen 10 knots of wind the whole trip, so far.
We’ve seen ocean sunfish and whales and porpoise and several ocean birds. Wednesday night we had bats chasing the insects gathered around the stern light. Thursday we had many, many shore birds on the boat, with as many as five at a time running around the cockpit looking for spiders and mites to eat.
These Ducks (Albatrossius noticus) are especially fun to run over at night. They wake up as a group, take of with lots of noise, and their foot-spashing take-off run glows with phosphorescence. Especially cool when you’re already a little freaked out.
This sparrow (Jack Scalliwaggonis) couldn’t make a safe landing and didn’t stay for long. The ocean birds chased him into the water and, I suppose, ate him.
This little finch (Atticus Brightwaterino) may have cracked his head on the transom chasing the same bugs the bats were after. He stayed on the boat all day,
…getting less and less scared but also less and less active. Nancy said he sat on me for a while when I napped in the cockpit. He finally died just before dusk and was buried at sea.
Here’s Nancy on watch, doing what we do on watch which is mostly trying to stay warm. About two AM on her first night watch (while the bats were flying around the transom) a bird smacked into the boom above her head and fell onto the back of her neck. She let me keep sleeping. Rock solid.
Last night paid for the trip so far, though. We had just enough wind to pretend to sail, the sky cleared and was full of stars, and some whales followed us for almost an hour. We could hear them splash and blow and yell at each other. Pretty cool. Lots of shooting stars, too. Some with sprinkles.
Thanks to Capt. Dean for the anchoring tip. It seems like a good spot.