GOLFO DULCE 2011, PART 4: And Her Eyes Sparkled with the Secret of It

Now the days float by in blues and teals and misty greys. I feel like Margaret Wise Brown’s black kitten, peering  from my seaward vessel in search of life’s secrets. What will we find today? Perhaps a little island.

the back of a resting green sea turtle with free-loading barnacles

Although our motor is plenty powerful, we are still at the mercy of the water, our boat falling into rhythm with the waves. Rumba rolls. Foxtrot ripples. Sometimes there comes a swaying chop that turns our dance into a wild salsa and leaves us laughing like giddy children.

Only once have we met the kind of intimidating swells that could topple us. We were skirting the waters near the open Pacific when the wind picked up. Suddenly we were being tousled by 6-foot waves that seemed to be fighting over which direction to go. Jorge held tight to the controls and powered us into the face of each contender so as not to be hit broadside and overturned. 

Water splashed willynilly into our boat and, as I struggled to keep my weight planted, I got to thinking about the marine radio that we didn’t yet have and how this whole research thing was just a tinge on the edgy side. Thankfully the battle lasted less than an hour, the bullying waves wandered off like street punks and the gulf smoothed over. Jorge acted nonchalant but I could tell he was rattled.

Of course it rains—it is the rainy season. Huddled in waterproof slickers we always keep our course, faithful foolhardy souls. But downpours are rare and our visibility has remained excellent. And just in case you have spent even a moment wondering if it’s all worthwhile…

Bottlenose dolphins traveling in a protective pack with a newborn (look closely!)

baby Humpback whale by mama, nursing (see the milk?), resting (see the paired blowholes?), spyhopping (see the bumps on its head called tubercles?)

our 2010 data showed all the sea snakes in upper Golfo Dulce are bright yellow... I just love them!

dolphins are said to leap when searching for food, which may be better seen from above the surface

Each day brings new discoveries and adds to the wonderful images adrift in my head*. Each day is the same and yet so very different. Each day I wonder… What will we find today?

*I have been posting additional photos and videos on Facebook.

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