Monday, April 14, 2008

Serendipity



I spent Friday through Sunday both working and sailing my boat. It was one hot weekend and our marina's parking lot was full on Saturday and I saw owners uncovering boats and spring cleaning that I had never seen before. My boat lacks any TV/computer or connection to the Internet but I can check my e-mail with my IPhone but it is so slow. This morning I was reading the weekend's e-mail and saw where a fellow surfer was alerting others to the current problems with rattlers and dogs getting bit. I ride my mountain bike in the local foothills and I have not seen any rattlers yet this season. Bikes don't warn the rattlers as a hiker's footsteps do and you can be on top of one of them warming in the trail real quick. It will give you a real wake up call. When I was a boy scout we were told to drag our feet and step on fallen branches: make noise, to let the snakes know we were coming.

Yesterday afternoon I spotted quite a disturbance on the water, churning water and diving birds, I was in the channel off the San Pedro breakwater due south ing but I could not point up in that direction of the disturbance to see it better. My boat is powered by the wind and my direction is controlled by that. Later on the way in I saw what I had missed earlier. Not being one to exaggerate, my estimate would be about a zillion dolphins, Delphinus delphis. Simply amazing, as I sailed right through the middle of the pod my Nikon was busy but their path was opposite ours and their lighting speed and with so many of them I didn't know what point and click at.

So in looking up information about the dolphin's population in the San Pedro Channel I discovered that Terminal Island was once called Rattlesnake Island. Terminal Island is now mainly a site for loading and unloading container ships and lies between the two harbors of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Then I learned that Catalina Island contains its own rattler, Crotalus catalinensis. It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that we live in a country where a large percentage of the population doesn't not believe in evolution. (Well to make up for them I have read Voyage of the Beagle at least twice.) Speciation makes for the most interesting reading and right now I am finishing Richard's Dawkins The Ancestor's Tale "A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution".
Catalina Island is of special interest to me: My mother, aunts and cousins lived there before World War ll and in the future I will post some of their earlier pictures.

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