break in the bone-jarring action, scooping up some murrelets,
and catching some waves at Año
NUEVO, CALIFORNIA What a week! We have had uncharacteristically
fantastic weather since Sunday. It's been warm and sunny, and
yes, completely calm. No 30 mph winds forcing you to lean sideways
as you walk. Fantastic conditions like this mean a couple of things.
importantly, we can actually get a lot of boating done. We
conducted offshore Marbled Murrelet surveys both Monday and Tuesday
mornings. A survey involves launching the Zodiac from the harbor
at Half Moon Bay and cruising down the coast all the way to Santa
Cruz. Because we follow a zigzag pattern, the transect ends up
being about 100 kilometers long and can take about five hours!
It is usually a pretty bone-jarring experience, but the fabulous
weather has given us water as smooth as a lake, and we actually
completed Monday's survey in record time three and a half
conditions are as good as they have been this week, surveys can
actually be quite enjoyable. Keeping an eye on breaking waves,
scanning the horizon for murrelets, and maintaining a 25 mph speed
along a set line is both thrilling and challenging. So far, we've
conducted 11 surveys this year and need about five more to meet
our objectives. Ultimately, our goal is to estimate the murrelet
population size over a series of years. From that, we will determine
if their population is declining.
other nice thing about this terrific stretch of weather is that
we have been able to go out and catch murrelets. Tuesday night,
we launched the Zodiac off of the beach at Año Nuevo at
around 8 p.m. and caught birds until about 1 a.m. Although it
was a little foggy, we were still able to net six birds. For crew
member Jay McEntee, it was his first real night of scooping, and
he did a stellar job. Landing the boat at 1 a.m. went very smoothly
despite a decent-sized south swell not a drop of water
ever entered the boat.
I said, there was a decent south swell in the water, which means
one thing and one thing only here at Año. SURF'S UP!!!
Whenever a solid south swell hits the areas, surfers flock to
the area from all over. There were probably 100 people out in
the water yesterday evening as we launched the boat, dropping
into world-class waves. I surfed for a couple of hours Tuesday
morning after the survey, took a nap, surfed for a couple more
hours, and then went back out in the boat to catch birds.
waves were so good that I actually jumped back in the water this
morning for a third session. So sunny, so warm, so glassy and
perfect six-foot lefts rolling in one after another. Ahh ...
Peery, board in arm, wading out to the break