Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Reliable Wilderness

We can walk in the woods day after day and not see a single thing that takes our breath away. The ocean, however, is a reliable wilderness that fuels our spirits with sights and sounds almost every time we take a look.

The week we spent at the coast coincided with the end of a month-long feeding frenzy that was absolutely stunning. We did see whales (after I wrote the first post) and more birds and sea mammals than we had ever seen gathered at one time.

I did take a few videos. One of a harbor seal slapping its flippers on the water in a communication display (so I've read) and one of some dolphins making their way to more food.

I tried to photograph a scene that would give the perspective of how many pelicans were amassed in this part of the bay and came up with the above pic that almost does it.

We drove home Saturday and are awaiting the first rains of the season. California is in a drought at the moment. According to the San Francisco Chronicle the bay area has received the least amount of rain for the year in recorded history. Pretty scary stuff. Then, of course, there's always the Fukushima radiation disaster making its way toward us. Yeah, I know, I'm a bit of a bummer but I can't help worrying about this beautiful reliable wilderness.

PS-- I had to make the video resolution low in order to upload it on our slow internet speed. Sorry about that. 


  1. Loved the videos,Robin. Watching creatures in the water, so graceful even with their astonishing mass, is mesmerizing. And sea birds; more grace and beauty. I share your pessimism, but hold out hope that somehow, someway, disaster will be averted for future generations. Do I believe it? I wish I did.

  2. Ursula K. Le Guin wrote a novel called Always Coming Home. It is set in a future post apocolyptic California, after all kinds of natural and manmade disasters. The region survived and regrew, so to speak, in her vision. I'm afraid the reality may not be so positive.
    Not sure what can be done at this point.

  3. I love seeing your videos and photos!

  4. your videos made me smile, as ocean creatures always do. I didn't know about the slap communication.

    I too went to the beach last week (Sanibel Island, FL). so nourishing to the spirit.

  5. great videos - but I really love the photo; it shows the scale of the bird invasion! Wild!

  6. These images are a big reason why I take to the water in my sea kayak. I'm tempted to head south to see the stuff you're photographing.

  7. omg, at the photograph of the birds!! it is stunning to view. we have seen bait balls on the Sound with sea birds swarming, but they were smaller and did not seem as overwhelming a presence! amazing, robin. this makes me want to be somewhere between halfmoon bay and st simeon! i never tire of driving that coast and gazing at the magnificent seascapes.

  8. You know I thought I saw people in the photo and when I enlaged it I could clearly see them amongst the pelicans, amazing the amount there.

  9. Yes, we enjoyed the videos but it was the pelican photo that blew us away. Sometimes we get to see 1 or 2 here in our area if the winds blow the right direction and they get off track and then people from miles around come to see them.

  10. John-- I am pessimistic, and quite honestly I feel saddest for the wild creatures who have no idea what's happening to their world.

    Isabelita-- I definitely want to read that novel. It sounds like something I will enjoy this winter, sitting in front of the fire and thinking about the apocalyptic future.

    Kenju-- So glad you liked them. Thank you.

    Maryanne-- I often wonder what it is about the coast that is so renewing for the spirit. This is why I want to move back.

    Tara-- It was absolutely amazing. I heard it was even crazier a few weeks earlier. A hundred humpback whales in the bay. WOWSERS!

    Phil-- There is something about wildlife at the coast that is magnificent. I really get why you kayak. I never did before, but I do now. Magnificent.

    sky-- It was an amazing few days. The sights and sounds will stay with me for a long, long time. I hope you and KJ get to see it some time. It's breathtaking.

    Bill-- I was glad the two paddle-boarders that gave the picture the perspective I wanted. It's hard to convey the size and scope without them. So glad you liked it.

    Ontario Wanderer-- The central coast of California has a lot of pelicans, but this run of anchovies brought in more than we had ever seen before. Truly an amazing sight. So glad you liked the videos.

  11. Enjoyed the dolphin videos but the pelican shot was spectacular enlarged. Oh to have been those two humans right in the middle.

  12. Patti-- It was nice to see those two humans be so calm and enjoy the moment. They were pretty lucky to have such an amazing front row seat.

  13. The videos are great, and that last photo is amazing! I enlarged it and it got even better.
    Yeah, the whole Fukushima disaster is pretty scary. I live exactly 17.8 miles from the nuclear plant at San Onofre. I gave the exact distance we live just inside the plant evacuation zone and miles inside the local evacuation zone. I don't EVER want that place to open up again. At this point, it looks like it never will.

  14. Pat-- Thank you so much for your kind words about the video and the pelican pic. I know your photography, so it truly is a kindness when you say the last photo is amazing. Thank you.

    Pretty scary stuff our present day world.