Marking the seasons by the appearance of migrating creatures

I grew up marking the seasons by the change in temperatures, the falling, growing or absence of leaves and the rain, snow or melting of ice.  Here in California I thought we had no real seasons at first because you could not count on summer to be warm or winter to be cold.  Different things bloomed at different times but something was always blooming.  After almost 20 years on the San Francisco Bay it dawned on me that I’ve come to mark the seasons by the animals and birds that come and go.  That, too, has been a moving target with sometimes a winter crab season, sometimes a spring one and sometimes none at all, but for the most part I welcome the arrival of each season now by the arrival of critters.  We just saw the first ball of herring arrive today.  The whales will start to migrate north up the coast over the winter with a few stopping to enter the Bay momentarily and then we will see them again on their way south.  Several bird species show up only in winter and I really look forward to the occasional mandarin duck with all its crazy colors.  This guy below lives here year-round, however, and is getting to be so comfortable with us as his neighbor that he no longer flies away when I walk past!

Women’s skipper regatta 2016 brave young skippers

The Start line can be a scary place when you get several boats over 40 feet in length vying for position on rough and windy waters in San Francisco Bay for even the most experienced sailors, so I wasn’t a bit surprised when my 12 year daughter Ava tried to bail out of skippering with 10 minutes to go at the start.  We just hung back and let everyone else go ahead so it wasn’t so stressful, then the girls took turns driving a great race, passing two boats before the finish!  They laughed a giggled a lot while driving and looking for the next mark, while crew Jill and I trimmed the sails and coached them around the course.  I have to admit it’s hard not to get too competitive after a lifetime of hardcore racing but it’s all fun at this age (the girls are ages 9-13) and the team did a fantastic job even if we didn’t win a trophy this year I’m soooo proud of them!  

Cadence on the helm wore a smile he whole time…

Abby mostly had her game face on except when the photo boat came around to take her picture…

Teamwork was great with each girl switching up jobs throughout the race…

My daughter Ava didn’t want the spotlight but she is a natural at the helm nonetheless…

Not shown (because she took all the pictures) is our fantastic crew Jill- thanks team!