Tuesday, October 30, 2018
A few years back we wrote a piece about Halloween - the idea came when we traveled to Ireland and spent some time in Dublin among other places around the Emerald Isle. So many of our readers with this blog liked it we decided to bring it back for another look. A revisit if one may say?
Hope it is as popular the second time around as it was the first.
By the way - HAPPY HALLOWEEN from J and L.
Walking with the Dead...Almost
Thursday, October 18, 2018
|An overview of Bahia de Los Angles and Isla Angel de la Guarda|
|Bahia de Los Angles on the Sea of Cortez|
|Cabo San Lucas was getting slammed before John knew about it|
|Who wouldn't want to go to this island?|
Things didn’t turn out as planned – as is often the case with best laid plans of men.
Unbeknownst to me, churning up the Sea of Cortez was Hurricane Calvin, while I sat in my kayak paddling calmly across the smooth seas enjoying the serenity and beauty of the bay. Two hours later things changed drastically. I noticed the surface was getting a little rough and my paddling efforts were sluggish. The smooth glass had turned to large rippling waves.
|Not a place to be in a kayak by yourself or even with others!|
Being without communication, I had not realized that a hurricane had made landfall in Cabo San Lucas before heading northward – right at me. But I did understand that I was for in a world of hurt.
Realizing that reaching the island, which was still a long way off, was rather doubtful, I spun the kayak and paddled like hell toward the mainland. Within twenty minutes the calm sea broiled into swells five or six feet in height. I paddled with all my strength, forcing the little yellow kayak up the face of a wave, only to slide into the trough below, several times submerging into the foaming waters. Once or twice, the kayak was hit by an unexpected and unseen sideways swell, nearly capsizing as I paddled now for my life.
|In a hurricane ,the waves come from every angle - hold on!|
Nearly eight hours later, shore came into view and with a rather undignified and painful landing on the beach, I gratefully touched land once more.
Shivering and exhausted, I took shelter in the bed of my truck while the winds tried desperately to tear the camper shell from the truck.
An hour later the sun was out and everything began to dry out from the drenching the arid desert had received.
So, the point of this blog? Well, there is a bit of a moral to this story:
One, be prepared whenever going out on the ocean or any body of water for that matter. Two, make sure someone who cares about you knows your exact location in case you don’t show back up – at least some sort of rescue could be attempted. Three, always wear a life jacket – being separated from your boat but floating face up is better than being separated from your boat and floating face down. Four, always check the weather conditions before exploring the waters or embarking on any adventure for that matter. And finally, don’t paddle alone. Always have a companion or two with you while paddling in any body of water – accidents can (and do) happen and the unseen can capsize a boat, even in calm waters.
Be safe and use caution as the guiding principal.
Having grown older, wiser, and having learned my lesson, I recently paddled off shore from Grace Bay in Providenciales, in Turks and Caicos, to the reef about a mile out. Bight Reef, also known as Coral Gardens, is an incredibly beautiful place to snorkel and paddle to but again one needs to be watchful, as the reef is home to not only a plethora of species of coral and fish, but also sea turtle, shrimp, lobsters, stingrays, moray eels and the occasional nurse shark.
It was a just couple of days after Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle, and though these Caribbean islands were not in harm’s way, the weather was a bit unstable. Thinking I could handle a short little jaunt on my own in the kayak, I headed down the beach. Suddenly, a still voice told me to text my wife. Although she was thousands of miles away on business, I thought that perhaps I should let her know where I was and what I was doing. See, I had learned my lesson. The voice in the back of cranium also suggested that it would be a good idea to reach for a life-jacket.
Glad that I listened to that voice. The waters grew rougher as the day progressed, but it was worth every sore muscle. Perhaps a few pictures can explain it better.
So, yes, do go explore and be adventurous, but always remain cognizant of your surroundings and put a thought or two into personal safety. A bit of common sense that perhaps I sometimes lack – but then again I’m a professional adventurer. Still, we at J and L wouldn’t want that next adventure to be the last adventure.
For a closer look at the adventure, click here.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
|Overlooking Hot Creek - near Mammoth|
|Inviting but don't take a chance - may be your last|
|Beautiful view from atop at the visitor's overlook|
The creek actually begins a few miles away where it is known as Mammoth Creek in the eastern Sierras. The waterway then cuts and dodges around the land flows and into the Long Valley Caldera. There it is joined by warming geothermal waters near the Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery and finally turns into Hot Creek Gorge, where the afore-mentioned pools are located. Eventually the waters flow south, cooling along the way into the Owens River as it empties into Crowley Lake.
There are still many explorers who come to marvel at the beauty of the pools and still more fly-fishermen who enjoy the pastime of catching an elusive fish who not only survive the warm waters but seem to thrive. Miles of hiking trails offer fabulous views of the Sierras and Owens Valley making the expedition every so much more enjoyable. Of course, there is hunting and off-roading – making the area a virtual outdoor person's Heaven.
Hollywood in the yesteryear took notice and filmed such movies as ‘True Grit’ and "North to Alaska' starring John Wayne, as well as both ‘Nevada Smith’ starring Steve McQueen, and ‘Shoot Out’ starring Gregory Peck in this unique biome.
J and L had been invited to join a camping expedition on the Owns River by their friends Bill and Becky Daugherty, and they were glad they agreed. Three days of moderate weather and very chilly nights – at dawn, the thermometer read a chilly 14 degrees. Yow! But the mid-September afternoons were pleasant and pushed the mercury near 70. Important note: when camping at over 7,000 feet, one must take into consideration how quickly the weather can change. That is ever so clear in the shadows of the Sierras.
|The researchers excited about finding fish near the hot spots|
Weather good or not – a great time was had and the research into the Hot Creek area as well as the personal exploration was perfectly satisfying. A simple three and half hour drive put J and L into some of the most gorgeous territory in California. Nearly in out backyard, as we often say....
And isn’t that what traveling is for?