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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Sea is beggining to show herself

The Sea is starting to really show herself. Lots of new marine life. Have you ever seen a blue footed booby? They are of course striking for their bright blue feet but they are really beautiful birds. They are diving birds, very sleek with a long narrow beak that is the same shade of blue. The blue shows itself off against an amazingly brigth white breast.

At Sweet Pea cove every evening the birds come out in force to feed right at twilight. The many many birds hitting the water in sheer dives sounds like far off firecrackers…bang, bang, bang. The area is also thick with bat rays that jump with a bang. They jump all day but especially in the early am and the late pm. They are fun to watch for two reasons. First they just make you laugh the way they come barreling out of the water like wet bats. They are very wiggly and they often do complete flips before hitting the water. Sometimes they skip across the water like a skipping stone. Second you can watch them from quite a ways off and you see them fly out and smack back into the water and then hear the sound a second later. Growing up in Seattle during the SST and the era of sonic booms I think of those little rays breaking the speed of sound! Sitting in the cockpit in the evenings your surrounded by the sounds of the birds feeding and the rays jumping….bang bang, smack, bang, smack smack, smack.

The last three nights there has been a sperm whale feeding in the channel that runs between Santa Rosalia and Sweet Pea Cove. I think they are feeding on the squid that are here in abundance now. Three nights running now I caught the sound of a breath and so went up on deck. Mostly it has just been feeding but one night out in the darkness it was breaching. The sound of a creature the size of a sperm whale breaching in the darkness is awesome and a little bit earie.
Yesterday we went out on a dinghy ride and had a manta ray come up next to us. It was a very small manta –maybe two and a half feet across- not a huge ten footer but he took a look at us and sort of veered away then changed his mind and came back to check us out. They are known to be very inquisitive and seem to actually seek out people which is why it is possible to “ride” them while diving in some places in Mexico.
We have not been diving here yet but the clarity is of the water is getting better every day. The snorkeling is pretty good but it too depends on how hard the wind has been blowing and how much muck has been stirred up. The visibility at Sweet Pea had been really good then a southern blew in and the water murked up with tons of silt from the upwind gypsum mine. Oh well its getting clearer every day.
We’ve had two four foot+ mahi mahi on but lost both before we could get them aboard which really chaps Bills you know what. Especially the second one because he had said “next time I am going to drag it behind the boat and wear him out for half an hour before trying to get it on board” then dumped that game plan when it hit the line.
The good news is that the fishing is picking up. The big pelagic fish come into the Sea with the warmer waters and are beginning to arrive now. On our trip across the Sea from mainland (Guaymas) to Santa Rosalia we saw tons of big fish in the water. We saw a huge fish swimming under the boat, a sailfish breaking the water just aft of our stern as we flew by at 8knots and many sightings of big guys jumping off in the distance. Then we went fishing and could see big fish tearing across the surface leaving a sort of jet stream V as they streaked across the surface. None of them would hit our lures, oh well we'll keep trying.

One afternoon at anchor one of the other boats in the anchorage came over and offered us some squid. Seems Pat got talking with a panga full of fisherman and successfully traded a Hustler magazine for a bucket of squid. Pat was being generous in sharing which was lovely but what he really wanted was to find someone who knew how to cook and clean them. Bill was able to find a sight online that went through the cleaning process so knife and cutting board in hand we motored over to Pats boat. I was a bit surprised at first because I was expecting five or six inch squid but instead was faced with a water pail sized bucket full of three footers. It turns out too that he didn't really want to learn how to clean them and was happy to sit and watch as I made my way through the bucket full. It also turned out that Pat has no refrigeration aboard so he gave us a huge pile of fresh calamari. The next day some friends happened into the cove so I sautéed up a batch and served it with aoli -a big hit all around. When we make it back to Santa Rosalia we will try and find a squid jig and will try our own hands at filling a small bucket.

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