Archive for February, 2010

More Cetaceans

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

The moon is full tonight but we waited too late to watch its rise so we will go down to the beach tomorrow instead.

A week ago Thursday we went out paddling, on a day that was supposed to be calm. Without a destination, we paddled directly into the waves for an hour, and were on the point of turning around and running for shore when we saw our local dolphins, moving from north to south in front of us, right where we would have been if we hadn’t stopped for a drink and a snack. They seemed businesslike and not playful, and were soon well away toward Danzante. But then ahead and to our right, maybe toward Los Cardones on Isla Carmen, we saw a bigger commotion, with no apparent direction to it. Others reported seeing whales in our area that day, but we can only daydream.

Earlier Posts

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Full Moon
February 2nd, 2010

There was a full moon at the end of the month and for a couple of evenings we went to the beach to watch it rise over Isla Carmen or simply to shine across the bay.

It meant a nice high tide too, and at a time yesterday that was convenient for us. With a forecast of wind from the north we paddled that way again and reached the mouth of the arroyo with little ado. Not much had changed — there were a few cows grazing, who seemed flustered by our arrival, and an egret who stayed while we explored. Upstream I soon felt sand on my keel and slowed to wait, but Alex, in a deeper channel closer to the south bank, penetrated a bit farther than I had before. This time she met, besides some tiny fish, a little crab like the kind that we see in our garden sometimes. We spotted some places where trails emerge from the steep bank, but nowhere that would be a better crossing than right down at the beach, where we have walked across before. We withdrew and headed north again, toward the point just outside the airport.

I thought that we might reach Loreto but the wind had risen and as we passed the National Marine Park campground CT-29 (in water where this time we greeted the sea lion, by the way) we were lured by the combination of sand, shade and sanitation and turned toward shore and made an easy landing. We carried one of our boats up the beach to turn sideways and use as a bench while we had a little snack. Four young men, each with a dog, walked by near the water heading south, and one looked up to wave and greet us. They then stopped at the last group of palapas (we had chosen the middle). After a bit the local police cruiser (they’re pickup trucks here) pulled up to chat with them, and then drove by to wave at us. This beach is reached easily by road from the transpeninsular highway.

We launched again and, having no other goal, paddled north for a while, but waves were over two feet by now and, with the wind, it wasn’t so much fun any more; we turned around and could see the place where we had started. It was downwind, but not directly. Alex’s skeg was not deploying and so for a while the effort of holding a course in the quartering waves didn’t seem much better than paddling upwind. We rafted up and I was able to dislodge a little rock that had gotten stuck in landing. Still, getting back took a while, during which time capsizing was not out of the question. We were quite pleased to get home.

And possibly a trifle stiff today; but today it’s raining.

El Tular
January 18th, 2010

The morning was nearly calm and the water flat, so with the ebb we paddled out to Punta Nopoló to look for fish and then north toward the mouth of the arroyo. In the distance we saw the local sea lion, where we often do, half a kilometer off the beach from the shack. We drew nearer and then paused to watch and he paused to bask, flippers in the air. Then the crew of the Little O, which had set sail as we launched, spotted him and gave an excited cry. We resumed our course but on our return the lion would be there to greet us and to pace us for a while.

The water was high enough that we thought we would look at the arroyo. It’s the main obstacle to traveling towards town from Loreto Bay, on foot or by bike. We had been a ways up along the southern bank on foot, where Alex had spotted a gravel bar with deeper water upstream, and we wondered if there would be a tide high enough to allow navigation above. We threaded our way among birds perched on shore and upon the snags in the shallow water, then Alex turned back to wait at the entrance while I let the wind blow me slowly upstream. I drifted within an easy stone’s throw of the bar and saw no water beyond it, but the banks were wet a meter above the water level, which would be well above the bar. A lot of factors will have to come together before we get farther. A day or two before, we had spent some time on bicycles exploring well upstream, on the other side of the highway, where the bed is almost always dry, and where the watercourse has an actual canyon, surprisingly wide and deep.El Tular, from the northeast

A natural history note: just at my furthest point upstream, as I began backing up, I met a balloonfish, Diodon holocanthus, or pejerizo enmascarado,  or “bonefish” as I believe I have heard Jorge call them. We commonly see these in the shallows near the rocks, sometimes even in large groups.

“Wear Blue for the Oceans” Day
January 13th, 2010

A group of about eight dolphins celebrated by putting on a show for us as we were paddling south near the Nopoló lagoon, about one in the afternoon. We saw them in the distance slapping their tails, but as they went by they did that thing where pairs leap past each other, clear of the water.

We noticed that it’s usually pretty calm when we see cetaceans at Loreto Bay. The palm trees had been still in the morning, but it was a little breezy as we launched. There was light chop as we returned about 2:30.