Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Interesting things from Baja

Here are some interesting things I saw on the trip to Baja last week...

click on picture to see large sizeThis was in Loreto, Mexico, before we started kayaking. It was right on a main street in front of a store. I guess I never had seen one of these used as a planter before.

click on picture to see large sizeOk, at first glance, you may not be able to figure out what is interesting about this picture from La Paz. A hint is that it is related to the handicap ramp. If you look closely at the bottom of the ramp, you'll see that the ramp does not go all the way down to road level, but instead ends at the curb, where they then painted the curb blue. So someone in a wheelchair on the road would not be able to go up this ramp.

Actually, I don't know how anyone in a wheel chair would go up the ramp. Perhaps if they parked their car right there and put the car's ramp on the blue, but this doesn't seem likely as the parking spot designated for handicap people is a little further down the road.

click on picture to see large sizeI guess they don't get that much rain in La Paz, so use their aqueduct (which are meant to allow rain water to flow past town without flooding the streets) as roads during the dry season. Hopefully the folks parked there are able to move their cars before any flash floods come along.

click on picture to see large sizeThis was an interesting way to park a boat in the La Paz harbor. I think this boat is a keel boat, so has a lot of weight in its keep to keep it from flipping. This weight would make it difficult to get out of the sand, as it would be too heavy to lift. I guess they have to wait for enough tide to come in to float it out, but I don't think the tide would come in far enough to do this. Maybe this boat is permanently parked there.

click on picture to see large sizeI think this may give a new meaning to the term "car grill".


Monday, March 26, 2007

Baja / Sea of Cortez kayak trip

kayaking in the sea of cortezMy girlfriend and I joined a kayak tour last week in the Sea of Cortez. The tour would cover about a third of the distance between Loreto and La Paz, Mexico, by kayak. Along the way, we would camp, snorkel, hike, etc. Here is a description of the tour from the outfitter's site. The picture is of me in my rental kayak.

The area was beautiful, and there was a lot of wildlife to be seen. One of the most impressive times is when we spotted manta rays jumping from the water. We went to the area they were jumping from and found that there were hundreds of mantas just below the surface. Below is a picture I took when I aimed my camera straight down, and another of a ray jumping just off the bow of a kayak:

rays under water ray jumping near the kayak

If the photos aren't good enough, here is a short video clip of them jumping...

We also saw many dolphins, both from kayak and from the motor skiffs - including these which we right in front of me:
dolphins near my kayak in the Sea of Cortez

Below is a video of some playing in the wake of out motor skiff:

There were also a lot of fish to be seen when snorkeling, such as those in this picture:
fish seen while snorkeling in Sea of Cortez

We did see a pair of whales (we think fin whales) and also a shark jump out of the water, but I was not able to get a photo of either. One of the reasons we chose this trip was the chance to see large whales - particularly blue or fin whales. So we were very happy when we got to see these guys.

On land, it is a desert, so we saw lots of cactus and desert wildlife. Here are two of the more interesting (and dangerous) finds:

scorpion the safe end of a rattlesnake

grilling fishAnd I am sure these fish wish they weren't found on land, but I was happy that they did - they sure tasted good! Various people went fishing during the trip, and many different fresh sea foods were eaten (fish, scallops, lobsters, etc.). We even had the luck of seeing a school of Jacks (small tuna) chasing sardines, and one woman was able to catch one.

Here is a picture of many of the folks as we watched to see if the whale would surface again:
the kayakers on our tour

And some general scenery shots:
kayaks on beach at Sea of Cortez sunset over the Sea of Cortez
Looking north towards San Jose Island in the Sea of Cortez

I uploaded over 300 photos to Kodak Gallery, for those that want to see more. (EDIT - I redid this so you don't need to log in to Kodak Gallery to see the photos)

Overall, it was a great trip, and hard to return home from.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Problems with Gmail

Google has been a great company or me. Lots of good tools that I use.

But recently there seems to be problems with Gmail. Some people have sent messages to me, and these messages are bouncing with a message saying I am over Gmail's quota (where I am not - I am only at 14% of quota). I also sent an email to a friend, and got the same error message back (Laura - I was trying to tell you thanks for the info on Mexico).

Ok, I have a weird system. Emails are sent to my singlespeed.org address. This forwards them to Gmail (which has a good spam filter process and allows me to get messages when I am traveling). I then download to my computer from there. But I don't think funky process is at part of this.

I went to Google's site to see if I could send some sort of error report, and it seems that they don't provide a way to do this. Huh? No customer support? That isn't good.

Hopefully they fix the problem and people can reliably email me again soon.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

kayak videos

My girlfriend and I went with a friend to Point Lobos, near Monterey, last weekend for some kayaking. At the end of the trip, I took some video clips of us playing in the waves at the beach, and posted those on Youtube.
先週末友達と彼女とMontereyの近くにPoint Lobosへカヤックに乗りに行った。ビーチで遊んで事をビデオして、Youtubeに置いた。

The yellow boat is my friend Brian. I am in the grey boat.
黄色のカヤックはBrianさんだ。グレイ 色のは私だ。