Monday, October 19, 2015

Shark watching at the Farallones ~ with

Yesterday I went on the Silver Fox boat from Fisherman's Wharf out to the Farallon Islands with about 22 other people with similar interests. The trip was organized by and marine biologist David McGuire who has been researching sharks and working on conservation for some time now.

We were looking for natural predation activity of the sharks on the seals and sea lions out there that is very frequent at this time of year (also known as Sharktober) and didn't see an actual strike but nonetheless, the day was amazing with plenty of sea life to observe including humpback whales and lots of sea lions, seals and sea birds.

At one point while we were slowly trawling and pulling behind us the "seal pup dummy" (see photo below), we were to the east of one of the guano covered rocks and the stench with the breeze was so overwhelming, it smelled like death. So bad was the smell that I had to cover my nose/mouth entirely. This lent itself in my mind to the history of the island being known as "Islands of the Dead" by the American Indians.

This trip also brought into acute awareness of the amazing accomplishment by Kim Chambers, another member of the Dolphin Club (like David McGuire and myself) who successfully swam from the islands to the Golden Gate Bridge with only a bathing suit (no wetsuit) only a little of two months ago. Read more about that here.

Lastly,  the talk on the boat occasionally fell to the recent occurrence of a shark feeding on a sea lion near Alcatraz as seen in this video.  That doesn't slow down the Dolphin Club, everyone is still swimming along as if nothing happened. I love these people... to hell with living in fear, they won't do it.

heading west, going through the swells, bouncy to say the least

the Google mapping catamaran hurried by on the way to the islands!

this is one of the two "seal pup dummies" that we towed out at the islands, they do work!

that white stuff, all bird poop ~ for centuries

view leaving the islands

getting mesmerized by the wake and falling asleep on the return trip

the channel buoys heading back in toward the Golden Gate Bridge

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