Archive | Research

All posts related to my research.

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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That's a big fin.

Swimming with the Largest Sharks in the World: Video!

There’s a fin at the surface of the water. Coffee in hand, I run to the bow, because I can’t believe it: the largest shark in the world is circling our sailboat!   Although whale sharks are the biggest fish on earth, their only real threat is to the plankton in the bay. The can […]

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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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Needless to say, I do not have any photos of my meltdown, only photos of my recovery.

Wind and Loathing in Loreto

In Moab, I worked with a fantastic bike guide, Scott Escott, who shared these wise words: “I hate the wind because it blows the personal space away from my FACE.” At this moment, amid copious tears, I hate the wind. We have just anchored at Isla Carmen after five and a half hours of tacking […]

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A pair in the morning light.

Video: Pilot Whales!

While sailing from Los Gatos to Agua Verde, a small pod of pilot whales joined us. Here’s the video, complete with geeky narration so you can learn a little bit about these graceful cetaceans:   Pilot whales are more closely related to dolphins than whales, and they are a cousin to killer whales. They are […]

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