Baja Sea Turtles, Fathers Day 2018

17 June 2018, mako-ville 5:30 am.  I awake the stars have fled the twilight skies of Baja.  In the quiet background the morning breath of whales can be heard in the distance.  The whales are passing between mako-ville and Isla San Luis is less then 5 miles away.  As the sun glides above the horizon the blows from the whales fly like faire dust into the cool morning air.  The sunlight illuminates them and they appear enchanted and alive.  What a spectacular way to awaken to a new day.

A couple of hours later I felt blessed at the wake up call I had experienced this morning.  Sitting at the restaurant awaiting my morning coffee and breakfast I could still sea the whales passing.  What a glorious morning to be alive.  Yes another great day to be in my beloved Baja.  My leg is healing and life is good.

After breakfast I took a ride in the Rhino to an overlook behind Punta Bufeo this viewpoint is about 4-5 miles from mako-ville.  You are about 100 feet up on top of a cliff overlooking the Sea of Cortez.  If you look to the north you sea Isla San Luis about 8 miles away.   Looking to the south in the fresh morning air you can clearly sea Puerto Refugio and the Isla de  la Guardia about 55 miles away.

This place was magical this morning, you could still sea spouting whales and looking down at the reef below there was a small school of yellowtail chasing bait just outside the rocks and boulders.  Over the reef itself I spotted a couple of cabrilla sitting and sunning themselves over warming rocks in maybe 5 feet of water.  What a view.  Baja magic, but my father’s day was not to be over just yet.

Little did I know how special this day was to be.  In the afternoon I returned to camp.  Having had a full morning, I hydrated and took a nap.  I slept until 4 in the afternoon.  Freshened up with a HOT solar shower just installed by my friend Kai on his last trip through camp a week earlier.  AWESOME.  At dinner time, 6 pm I headed to the restaurant where Clementina was preparing Chile Rellanos stuffed with cream cheese, shrimp and jalapenos, a new favorite of mine.

The magic of Baja struck as I was sipping on a diet coke.   Looking out the front arched windows I saw motion, and it took me a few seconds to realize what was happening.  On the beach in front of me a sea turtle had made her journey from her home waters to the top of the beach.  She crawled over a hundred feet and started digging her nest.  It was the first few flippers full of flying beach sand that had attracted my eyes.

Yelling to Luis and Clementina to come from the kitchen to sea what was happening on THEIR beach.  They were followed by Mari and Ana their kitchen help.  Also present were two residents from Punta Bufeo and sitting on the porch steps were 3 mexican commercial fishermen.  Also there was a family of 8 renting the new house on the beach.  Luis told them all to wait a while and allow her to lay her eggs BEFORE approaching her.

Over an hour later she turned towards the sea and everyone except me went to sea her off.  The three kids from the house had just experienced a small miracle, the birthing cycle had started.  ALL the people on the beach, EVERYONE of them collected big rocks and put a barrier around the nest.  Hopefully 60 days later her eggs will emerge from the sand and travel back to the sea.  Yes I plan on being there.

Many years ago while stationed in Panama with the USAF I experienced a group of sea turtles on a beach on the Island of Contadora.  That too was near sunset but there were many turtles that evening.  This Fathers Day there was only a single turtle, none of her sisters came ashore with her.  She was ALONE.  Last year a turtle laid her eggs in a nest in front of a house at Punta Bufeo and nothing hatched.  This year we will closely observe the nest and maybe this nest will hatch out.  We can only hope, the rest is up to our maker.

I do not know why the Lord graced me with the wonders of this day.  But I feel so humbled by his blessing.  But I do know we as a race are killing our planet, Our seas are dying, our mother ocean is sick, we are raping her.  OUR days are limited by her health.  Wake up people BEFORE it is too late.

I believe the turtle was a green sea turtle, she was about 3 feet long maybe 24 inches wide and weighed about 80 kilos, or almost 200 pounds.   May she prosper, live long and produce MANY offspring.  Turtle populations are dying off all over our world, and MAN is their biggest predator.  They are ALL endangered.  The information below was copied from internet sites and is not mine.

 

 

 Turtles: Five of the world’s eight species of marine turtles feed in the Sea of Cortez: loggerheads, leatherbacks, green sea turtles, olive ridleys,   and hawksbills. Turtles like to hang around dive sites at wrecks. Many migrate from Baja to Japan and back – thanks to conservation efforts.

Information About Sea Turtles: Green Sea Turtle

Common Name: Green sea turtle – named for the green color of the fat under its shell. (In some areas, the Pacific green turtle is also called the black sea turtle.)

Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas

Description: They are easily distinguished from other sea turtles because they have a single pair of prefrontal scales (scales in front of its eyes), rather than two pairs as found on other sea turtles. Head is small and blunt with a serrated jaw. Carapace is bony without ridges and has large, non-overlapping, scutes (scales) present with only 4 lateral scutes. Body is nearly oval and is more depressed (flattened) compared to Pacific green turtles. All flippers have 1 visible claw. The carapace color varies from pale to very dark green and plain to very brilliant yellow, brown and green tones with radiating stripes. The plastron varies from white, dirty white or yellowish in the Atlantic populations to dark grey-bluish-green in the Pacific populations. Hatchlings are dark-brown or nearly black with a white underneath and white flipper margins.

For comparison, the Pacific green turtle (aka Black Sea Turtle) has a body that is strongly elevated or vaulted and looks less round in a frontal view than other green sea turtles. The color is where you see the biggest difference with Pacific greens having a dark grey to black carapace and the hatchlings are a dark-brown or black with narrow white border with white underneath.

Size: Adults are 3 to 4 feet in carapace length (83 – 114 cm). The green turtle is the largest of the Cheloniidae family. The largest green turtle ever found was 5 feet (152 cm) in length and 871 pounds (395 kg).

Weight: Adults weigh between 240 and 420 pounds (110 – 190 kg).

Diet: Changes significantly during its life. When less than 8 to 10 inches in length eat worms, young crustaceans, aquatic insects, grasses and algae. Once green turtles reach 8 to 10 inches in length, they mostly eat sea grass and algae, the only sea turtle that is strictly herbivorous as an adult. Their jaws are finely serrated which aids them in tearing vegetation.

Habitat: Mainly stay near the coastline and around islands and live in bays and protected shores, especially in areas with seagrass beds. Rarely are they observed in the open ocean.

Nesting: Green turtles nest at intervals of about every 2 years, with wide year-to-year fluctuations in numbers of nesting females. Nests between 3 to 5 times per season. Lays an average of 115 eggs in each nest, with the eggs incubating for about 60 days.

Range: Found in all temperate and tropical waters throughout the world.

Status: U.S. – Listed as Threatened (likely to become endangered, in danger of extinction, within the foreseeable future) under the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act. Green sea turtles were downlisted from Endangered in 2016.  International– Listed as Endangered (facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Threats to Survival: The greatest threat is from the commercial harvest for eggs and food. Other green turtle parts are used for leather and small turtles are sometimes stuffed for curios. Incidental catch in commercial shrimp trawling is an increasing source of mortality.

Population Estimate*: Between 85,000 and 90,000 nesting females.

Nesting Sites:  All over the world.

Baja 4 Months POST surgery

One Hundred and Twenty Two days after foot removal.  People never get old amigos.  We heal so slowly after the age of 50.  After a very slow start on healing it appears I am over the hump.  At todays appointment the Wound Care Doctor looked at the stump again after not seaing it last week because I was in mako-ville getting lots of vitamin sea.  So here’s the word!

He told me to hurry back to Baja.  Told me that whatever I was doing was working.  He again used a hormone growth product and will look at it again next week.  I was asked to come back next Thursday and then get out of DODGE for a week or so.  HaHa, back to Baja on the 6th of July.  LUCKY ME.

After taking moore tests, and checking all results he had only good things to report.  TWO weeks ago he estimated that the stump was 40% healed.  TODAY he told me we were over the 50% mark and maybe as much as 65%.  He is pretty sure I will be ready for my prosthetic in AUGUST.  Let the good times roll.  Baja here I come again.

So in getting ready for the future I just got in a pair of canes.  Feels funny to use them with one foot, but when the new foot gets here I will have built up some muscle memory.   Two canes and only one foot is awkward and slow but very stable.   And that should make it easier to relearn how to balance and walk upright again.

SOON I will be healed enough to get the foot WET, that means I can get on the water in the kayak finally.  The Doctor did tell me about a bag I can tape up around the leg for a few hours at a time so I might give that a trial on My next trip to paradise.  Let the good times roll.

Speaking of good times.  The halibut Tourney at San Quintin was AGAIN won by Mr. Rossman.  This year he had the only two halibut weighed in.  He also caught a larger bone fish.  Congratulations to Ross.  Next year we will move the Tournament to mako-ville and open it to ALL fish except sharks and rays.

For those of you who follow me, I have  treat for YOU coming this weekend.  So keep your eyes open, it is about a rare sighting that happened in mako-ville on FATHERS Day.  Sea you all soon.  And remember Baja can heal all aspects of your life, if you let her.  Tight Lines amigos.

Post Amputation Day 95

Such a long time it takes some diabetics to heal.  Blood sugars are in check, NO bone or other infections.  The stump is looking much better.  And the wound is healing faster.  Thank the Lord.

Now over three months after the amputation I can sea the light at the end of the tunnel.  I took my ten WHOLE days in Baja.  Before I left my wound care doctor put me on antibiotics, he said just in case.  I covered up pretty well but still burnt my nose.  On returning to sea him after my trip he was excited at the progress made in two weeks.

The wound was closing much better and faster.  Baja was healing me!!!!!   The smaller part of the wound was ready to use a different technique on.  The doctor placed a piece of cow collagen in the wound, used glue to hold on a bandage over it then used tape over that.  Told me not to touch it, he will look at it again on this Thursday.

He told me to continue treating the rest of the wound as I did in Baja.  Thursday when he seas me again he will be happy as the open part of the wound is still healing well.  I can sea it growing smaller every day.  Baja was good for me.  Physically, emotionally and spiritually, I was healed by her open arms.

So I ask myself how to keep this going?  My answer is another trip to mako-ville scheduled for the 15th of June,  I will be there until the 20th.  Then cross through Coco’s corner to San Quintin to fish the halibut tournament on the 23rd of June.   And to celebrate my 70th in paradise, then back to Gonzaga for a day or two before returning home on the 26th.

While in mako-ville I hope to get the windows installed on the upstairs bedroom which we are building.  We found an air conditioning unit which will run on our solar system all day long without drawing power from the batteries.  Then we turn it off until we go to bed then on for an hour or two should be all it takes.  That should give us cool, sweet Baja dreams.  Tight Lines amigos.

 

Life in MOTION

You cannot exist without motion.  Mobility is LIFE!  Kathryn DiPietro this was inspired and is about you amiga.  It affects all of us older, disabled, addicted, depressed PEOPLE.  You cannot live without Mobility.  Living is moving.

Motion helps your emotions come to life.  Feel the JOY of life through your mobility.  When you can move or get around your life EXPANDS, opening new vistas.  YES I lost a foot.  It will not kill me.  Buy it sure is hard to hop thru life.  Yes I will get a fake leg but that takes time.  What to do in the time between amputation and walking again is the problem.

And what about people who find it very hard to walk, what do they do?  Just give up in dispare?  I hope not!  MOVE.  Find a way to get out and experience life again.  Get a set of crutches, a wheel chair, a walker or like my friend Kathryn a QUAD.

Motion is LIFE.  Get out there and SEA the world, explore, move, change your POV.  Get into that wheelchair and DRIVE yourself around.  Get a new hobby.  Take another look at your surrounding, then expand them through hobby.  Photography is good as it lets you and others sea that NEW perspective.  Motion lets us experience life.

Kathryn I was happy to hear you found a Quad.  NOW you can move with life, look at it in a different way.  You can again LOVE your life.  Mobility is good for the body and the SOUL.  Try taking your quad into the desert a mile or two away from home one evening.  Take Dale along.  Watch the sunset, enjoy a drink and watch the stars appear.  Listen to the life around you, hear the coyotes chasing rabbits.  Sea the satellites as they track along the night sky.  Hug Dale and tell him your life is so much better this week.  Motion is LIFE.  And your life is again in MOTION.  Enjoy every day the Lord bestows upon you amiga, live your life to its fullest.  And thank you for being a friend.

People this is for all of YOU too.  Get off the couch, find a way to move.  Find a new passion, make it happen.  You can do it.  If you need help let me know.  We will figure it out, you must have an option or two.  Motion, keep moving.  LIVE life, yes you can.  Live the life you love and LOVE the life you live.

 

 

Post amputation, DAY 60

The last 60 days have been the slowest I can remember since I got out of school.  Yep even Vietnam moved faster.  Post amputation, time slows down.  I got depressed as things were moving SO slowly.  Slow down you move to fast is fine if you are healthy.  Being wounded that philosophy does not hold water.

I found that post amputation my POV needed to change.  Our health care system naturally moves slowly.  Medicare and the VA do not talk to each other.  Casually the system crawls, do this first.  Make appointment and have this test done.  Results come back, now make appointment to get this test.  Some times it takes 2-3 weeks to get that test.

Results come back, it has been 6 weeks down the drain.  So the wound care Doctor saw me TUESDAY.  He took the bull by the horns.  HE was tired of the slow process and lack of results.  Had his head nurse contact the emergency room at TRI CITY.   He wrote the orders for them, instructions were spelled out.  Now remember he is also a Doctor on the Tri City staff.

Doctor told me to LEAVE his office and go straight to their emergency room.  And once there to tall them he had sent me and that my wound was not healing as it should.   This was post amputation day 59.  So off to sea the wizard at the emergency room.   The attendant at the door came out to me and asked why I was parked there, I opened the door and showed him my stump.  I asked for a wheel chair and for someone to park my truck.

I was processed in within 30 minutes telling them that the wound had a smell and looked like it might be infected.   Boom I was in seaing a Doctor who opened my file and saw the Wound Doctors notes, and recommended tests and procedures.  Over the next 9 hours all the tests were done and the results compiled and ready for the Emergency room Doctor.  Together in a conference call, ER doc, my Wound Doc and the Surgeon plotted a course of action.  In actuality in ONE single day a process that was taking weeks and months was solved.

The GOOD, NO sign of Bone Infection, Blood Cell results, very slightly elevated.  NO outward signs of infection.    The BAD, nothing noted.  Because of those tests they were able to debride the wound on day 60.  The UGLY,  when the Doctor opened up the wound to clean out the DEAD tissue.  The WHOLE room stank.  He removed the bad tissue, he did not put me on anti biotic because he saw no infection.

The CT scan did show a pocket of?  Fluid and gas, and they put a HORSE needle in to it in 3 places trying to aspirate the pocket.  All they got was a small amount of blood.  They sent that to be cultured and results should be back early next week.   All in all a great week, a little sore tonight but no pain meds needed.

Post amputation, DAY 83, the 20th of May is MY FREEDOM day.  I return to Baja that day for a week.  Life is good, God is great and loving.  Yes, I too got depressed for a while but just thinking and DREAMING about Baja kept me on track most of the time.  Now as I get closer to my return date time is SPEEDING up again.  My best wishes to all of you.  Thank you for your prayers.  I hope to sea each and every one of you in PARADISE soon.  Tight Lines and HAPPY BAJA DAYS.

 

 

Healing update April 10 2018

Today is 43 days post amputation.  Surgeon finally decided the healing was going too slow.  He is sending me to The Center for Wound Care  & Hyperbaric Medicine in Carlsbad.  This treatment program should speed back up the healing process.  That is the hope anyway.  Time will tell.

Tomorrow I should get a start date and moore information about their program.  Someone said it could take 6 weeks, which I sincerely hope not.  I should know moore by the end of the week.  Thank you all for your support.  Baja is calling so loudly I can hardly stand it.  Tight Lines amigos.

Going home, almost Baja time.

So today the powers that be decided I would be going home on the 28th.  They said I can finish healing under home care.  That means six days and counting.  Homeward bound.  Baja time, Baja calls loudly.

I cannot return to Baja until the wound has healed fully, scab needs to be gone.  Maybe a couple moore weeks then it will be shrinker and Baja time.  Feels so great to be on the road to freedom again.  Life is good.

There will be a three-week wait after the shrinker comes off.  Then they should have my temp prosthetic ready.  Then weeks/months of adjusting and getting used to it.  In between it will be Baja time.  Off I go.

I have put the iWALK2.0 aside for now, as it puts pressure on the end of the stump SLOWING the healing.  I will resume when the shrinker is installed.  I pushed too soon.  Sometimes it is better to slow down no matter how much you want to move ahead.

I did find a set of automatic exterior steps for the truck that fold under and out-of-the-way.  Now getting into and out of the truck should be doable.  Find out next week, if I can get them installed that fast.  No way I can self install.

I find myself pushing and doing too much.  BECAUSE I am burning daylight, and there is only so much left when you are almost 70.  Back in High School time seemed to CRAWL.  Now it FLIES at 90 miles an hour.  Baja time is approaching.

My Church is calling every minute of each day.  A friend, Daniel Powell sent this to me today and I would like to share it with you.

Ocean missed…

Ocean missed…,

Frigates dance wildly in flight in my mind,

swooping low, darting wide, daring to climb

into a sky sun-wrapped in warm blue respite

from thunderous rain the previous night.

The smooth swell calmly glistens of life held within

as it shines, reflecting a low-gliding pelican

wing-wafting scents of tropical sea air

as fresh and as real as if I were there.

 

My feet might find the warm sand welcoming,

If not just fantasy of cold-climate suff’ring

land-locked by demand and long-shoed unfree—

they often walk barefooted through my mind to the sea.

Thank you Daniel as YOU know I miss my Church, our Mother Ocean.  She calls me loudly all day and night.  Being a Child of the Tide she dwells within my soul.  Better times are coming.  Baja time, Baja calls, sea you all soon in Paradise.  Tight Lines amigos.

 

 

 

iWALK 2.0

Today, 21 days after my left foot was amputated I walked for the first time with a walker without hopping.  The iWALK 2.0 was not as easy for me to use as the video on-line show.  There is a balance learning and for me a foot pick up learning curve.  Tomorrow I will try it on the parallel bars.  If that goes well then I will attempt without any other aid.

That means I will walk along on the iWALK and my good foot.  I will again have full mobility.  Walking on your own is so important in the rehab process.  Mobility is paramount to the lifestyle I desire to continue living.  Freedom and Baja will not be too far behind.

Coming hurdles include entering and exiting my Dodge Ram 2500 truck, and then using my prosthetic when it arrives next month.  The temp prosthetic should be easy after mastering the iWalk.  Just balance and gait training.  mostly practice.  The Dodge truck might be a different matter.

That first step getting into the truck is HIGH.  And getting in will be easier than getting OUT.  That LONG step down could dump me on my face.  So right now that is my biggest worry.  If I cannot get it right them my only choice will be to downsize the Dodge to a Toyota Tundra and I might be looking for a trade.

Once I get over these SMALL hurdles then my life is no longer on hold and I can go back to living my life to its fullest.  Driving a smaller truck will not be a problem.  I will be able to walk the beaches of Baja looking for corvina.  Drive the Quad around to explore and launch the boat or yak.

Getting into and out of the boat will just mean using a three-step stool.  The stool may also work for the Dodge truck too.  stepping into and getting out of the kayak will get me wet.  But I can live with that.  Life can be good after an amputation.  You just have to change the way things are done.

The iWalk 2.0 is a game changer for me on my road back to Baja.  Thank you all for your motivation, heart-felt wishes and prayers.  That helped me to focus on the important things in my life.  Fishing, Baja and kayaking.

I do hope those of you getting ready to go thru this get a little inspired and lose some of your anxiety and fear.  Life goes on.  Live the life you love and LOVE the life you LIVE.  Live YOUR life to the fullest, Tight Lines to you all.

 

 

 

Stitches be GONE

Finally this afternoon the Doctor took out the stitches.  All 41 of them.  The stitches are gone, time to heal and shrink the stump.  Today FRIDAY afternoon Amazon deliverd an  “i Walk 2.0” to me.  It is a hands off crutch and I will start learning to walk again with it this weekend.

That way by the time my temp prostetic arrives around the middle of next month I will already be mobile.  I hear a friend calling.  Baja here I come, no grass growing under these feet.  Corvina and yellowtail in Gonzaga along with the cabrilla RIGHT NOW.

Spring winds coming and lots of fish with them.   Time to get the planning done, get ready for that next trip.  And now the down side.  Yes there is a down side.  And I hate to sea it.  But I will TELL you about it.

The down side is apathy, NO not mine but YOURS.  I have, am and always will live MY life to its fullest.  YOU on the other hand, might NOT be up to speed YET.  I hope to turn that around for you.

YOU work too hard and play too soft, that is just not right.  September and October are soon to be here.  Plan a vacation NOW for THEN.  You OWE it to yourself, your family and even your boss.  I hear it now, I can’t afford it.  But you can if you keep the costs down.

Put aside $25 per week, thats $100 a month.  Do it until October and you have $750 in the kitty if you start this TODAY.  That is enough to spend 2-3 WEEKS in camp mako-ville and that includes your gas both ways.  And it costs even less if you travel with a buddy and split fuel costs.

Mako-ville is NOT the only place you can get this type of value.  Other locations work as well, plan it out.  Make it work for you and your family.  Recharge those batteries and come back ready to rule the world.  YOU can do it.  Live your life.  I will be 70 in June, be like me and Rossman.  Live your life to it’s fullest.  Do NOT just exist.  Live.  Tight Lines amigos.  The stitches are gone.

Day before they took my foot.

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow I walk the line.

Tomorrow I walk into a new page of my life.  Tomorrow I take the first steps in a long, slow trip back to my beloved Baja.  My new life starts, a rebirth, a change, a beginning of a long, maybe difficult, slow journey to regain my life.  To take it and me down the winding road to paradise, my paradise, my Baja.

Some time in the morning the surgeons will amputate my left foot, they will cut it off.  Close to the midway point between knee and ankle the Dr. will use a saw on me.  Zip, zip and I lose an old tired friend.  A friend who has been with me on many journeys to Baja and elsewhere.

I will be happy to let the infected foot and lower leg take the trip to HELL.  Yep it is straight to the hottest fires it goes.  Never to be seen ever again, up in flames.  Foot be gone, good-bye amigo.  You will be sorely missed.

The hospital will keep me one to two weeks.  Dressing the stump that will be the base for my prosthetic every few hours.  Making sure there is no new infection.  Shaping the stump, getting it ready for its new life.  Making sure it can heal properly and hopefully fast.  I think I am ready physically and mentally for this trip to my new life.

A fresh start, another chance to get it write.  Yep I can do that.  A chance to help myself and others.  The process will allow me to share the pain, sorrow, joy and in site with you.  I might need a little help getting over this ordeal.  And you might need to know what to expect if life comes knocking on your door.  Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.  Join me on this adventure to paradise.  Tight Lines amigos and amigas.