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Critters (April 2018)

You never know what you're going to see. It amazes us how often we encounter marvelous things. This brings to mind the obviously spectactular - leaping dolpins, a blazing sunset, or the stunning scenery. At times we deliberately seek the sublime - we'll hike up the extinct volcano for the breathtaking view, or snorkel where sea lions are known to cavort - but we also come across remarkable things when we have no expectations of doing so. Without working at it, when we are tuned into our environment and open to wonder, we are often surprised at the remarkable things around us. We'd like to share some observations, which were either by design or serendipity, of some large, small, exciting or simply interesting critters.

Moth on sailcover

This moth found our sailcover to be a convenient place to dry the morning dew from its wings. It was remarkably unfazed by our presence.


We came across this rather large grasshopper while hiking on Isla Carmen. Admittedly, we were hoping to see big horn sheep, but you take what you can get.

In the category of working at it, we dinghied to a noisy island with hopes of capturing the diving pelicans in action. Although we were surrounded by activity, getting a good shot was not easy. It amused us greatly to see just how many shots we had of a wing tip or a splash. Digital cameras, on the plus side, let us take a ridiculous number of pictures, but they can also have a delay while processing the information which is a definite drawback when photographing critters plunging down at high speeds. Nonetheless, through sheer persistance we captured some interesting moments.

Pelican in flight Pelican and Barb Pelican in dive, just about to hit the water

Our best shot (of hundreds :), taken at Playa Santa Barbara.

Pelican Pelican and Seagull

During the several seconds it takes a pelican who has just scooped up a bill full of water (and fish) to strain out the goodies, a seagull will often hang around hoping a morsel is missed.

We notice that our last few blogs have been lacking in underwater critters. Let's fix that now.

The first time we snorkelled at Bahia Santo Domingo we saw very little undersea life. A couple of months later we were thrilled to find several eels, including a Tiger Snake Eel, a Pacific Leopard Flounder, and even a school of Gafftopsail Pompano. We were also followed for quite a while by this curious puffer. Wisely, it chose to give up on us when we went onto the beach.

Head-on shot of Puffer

Our Puffer tagalong

Tiger Snake Eel

Tiger Snake Eel (yes, it should be called "Leopard Snake Eel"!)

Two Gafftopsail Pompano

Gafftopsail Pompano

Pacific Leopard Flounder

Pacific Leopard Flounder

After a snorkelling expedition that had been only moderately interesting, Bjarne brought a souvenir aboard. He had just laid the supposedly-empty shell on our dinghy's floor, when the innoccuous shell flipped over, startling us, followed quickly by an octopus sliding out. The small cephalopod ambulated over the side of the dinghy in no time, leaving us with an empty shell and black smears on the dinghy floor. Although the ink didn't spell out any words, we got a clear message that our guest was not impressed by the usurpation of its accomodations.

Octopus ink stains in our dinghy Shell that Octopus had been inhabiting
Shark Jaw and teeth

A head and most of one's shoulders could fit through this jaw.

Not all of the creatures we see are alive. Here are the remains of a shark. Although tempted to keep this jaw, the slimy, partially-decomposed flesh deterred us.

Unusually shaped Sand-dollar

At Isla Requeson we found a shape of sand dollar we'd never seen before. We haven't figured out what currency it is.

Large Dolphin pod

We were having a great sail in Bahia Concepción, glad that we had detoured into the large bay instead of motoring along the shortest route to our next anchorage. Things just got better when we noticed a bird-fest in full swing. We altered course and the churned up seas moved toward us. With excitment we watched the splashes resolve themselves into individual dolpins, some of which found us interesting enough to play in our bow wake. We can't help but feel joyful whenever these sleek, powerful creatures choose to visit us.

Dolphins approaching Hoku Pa'a

During all that excitement in the water, a look to the sky revealed other visitors soaring around our mast, providing the reminder: don't forget to look around, because you never know what you're going to see.

Two frigate birds soaring around Hoku Pa'a mast

Frigate birds soaring

Speaking of up in the sky, we close with this bumblebee departing a yellow flower (Hibiscus?). We heard its low rumble before we spotted it; its huge size bringing to mind a flying VW Beetle.

Bumble-bee leaving yellow Hibiscus

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