Archive | Climate Change

Oleada heels in a gust as the rain pelts the cockpit.

Into the Wind

Three weeks ago and a few days before the US election, we faced a building storm in one of the most remote areas of Caribbean Panama. Totally alone out on the ocean, our transmission died just as I was hoisting the main sail as we departed from an offshore island. We were leaving an anchorage […]

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Blue-footed Boobies at the edge of the sea.

What Can a National Park Do?

“Mexico has many good laws.” Professor Martín Soto leans back from behind a clump of papers on his desk and sighs. “It’s the enforcement that lacks.” I’m sitting in Martin’s office on the second story of the Marine Science and Limnology Institute in Mazatlán, Mexico. The building hangs on the edge of a cliff above […]

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Mazatlán and the rising tide just outside of the marina. The breakwater becomes impassable with bigger swells.

Getting It Wrong: Fear and Learning in Mazatlán

I love giving presentations. It’s sick, I know. But I used to fear it deeply. I have a friend who is a professional street performer, and I have always admired his ability to withstand the potentially saucy, unforgiving, or worst of all, bored crowd. But as the result of training and good advice during my […]

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Finding Altata

“Whatever you do, don’t go to Altata.” These were the last words we heard as we cast off our dock lines in Guaymas. We were about to sail 300 miles with limited charts but plentiful warnings—with the goal of getting to this near-mythical town protected by a bar that might as well be filled with dragons. […]

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Callo and Antonio pull alongside as we motor. I took these two photos with Josh’s phone while navigating the channel at the wheel.

Rising Waters, Fewer Fish: A Local Change

‘Its beauty has been compared with the Greek isles,’ the guidebook waxed—followed by the incongruous statement that Topolobampo is primarily a cargo port. “Sounds good to me,” Jon said with a grin as we sat around the table on Oleada, discussing our trip through 400-plus nautical miles of coastline mostly unexplored by sailors. Beginning from […]

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Lunasea on a stormy day.

The Storm That Caught Us on a Changing Sea

We are the only isolated object for 40 miles, and lightning surrounds us. It’s eleven a.m., and we are sailing over twenty miles from shore. I have been awake since three a.m., and this is not typical thunderstorm weather. Thin and high clouds filter the sunlight with wisps of virga, rain that trails from the […]

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Carbon over Guaymas: the view from the boatyard every morning.

What Paris and Guaymas Have in Common

Guaymas, Mexico, is an industrial and shrimp-fishing port in the desert state of Sonora. Giant cargo ships nose past steep, uninhabited islands in the bay crowded with saguaro cacti. This is one of our first stops on the mainland side of Mexico (the sail over from Baja deserves its own post, coming soon.) Guaymas is […]

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Before the sun comes up, the 'oily' water hints at the sunrise to come with lavenders and periwinkles blending the sea with the sky.

Fighting the Tide

“You can sit on di beach, but you can’t stop di tide.” So said a thoughtful Caribbean man to Josh when he was delivering boats in the islands. This phrase came back to Josh as we pushed further north into the Sea of Cortez and discovered what happens when a sailboat meets the water from […]

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The Pernicious Effects of Warm Water

    “At night, it looked like another city,” Isabel tells me as she gestures out her office window toward the sea. “There were hundreds of lights. But now, what do you see?” she asks me. “Nada,” I reply. Isabel Soto Gonzalez runs the daily operations at the marina in Santa Rosalía. She tells me […]

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The roofs and colorful clapboard in the center of Santa Rosalía.

The Essence We Cannot See

On the surface, Santa Rosalía is a rundown mining town with no pretty shoreline and no quaint fish shacks. Why did Josh and I love it so much? Santa Rosalía is a brilliantly incongruous place. The red roofs and clapboard of French architecture give way to steep desert mesas which give way to burgundy tailings […]

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