Sunday, March 21, 2010


Sometimes, total strangers who hear me speak tell me I have the best life in the world. Today was one of the days I'd be inclined to agree. Tom and I, with another friend, went whale watching out of Ventura, on Island Packers.

We saw the first marine mammals, some California sea lions, before we were out of the harbor. I was the first to spot a whale, a grey, only a few minutes out. The naturalist traveling with the tour expressed surprise at seeing one so soon; they usually travel in deeper water than what we were passing over, there. That whale showed himself to both sides of the boat, and then went on his way. Past the line of oil rigs, I again spotted a whale, this time a humpback. There were two, which swam under and around the boat for an hour. We were close enough to count their freckles and smell their breath-- the latter was not so good. They exhibited all the photographers' favorite behaviors: breaching, spy-hopping, tail-slapping, until a California sea lion distracted them by executing multiple leaps and flips in front of them, tempting them to play. In the distance, more humpbacks gave the full Sea World show.

Our boat had been idling while the humpbacks were so close, as required by law. When the humpbacks left, we sped up, to see what was on the far side of Anacapa Island (hint: hundreds more California sea lions). As soon as we sped up, a pod of common dolphins caught and rode our bow wave, giving us a splendid view both in the water and above it.

By the time we headed back to port, the wind was coming up and we were getting seriously cold. We were very glad that the boat had an enclosed cabin with plenty of seating, and even more glad that the cabin had windows all around, as more dolphins joined us near the harbor. Having that much fun is tiring, and I may have slept part of the way back. I'll never tell.

I won't be posting for the next 10 days or so, as I'm heading to Oregon, and I don't travel with a computer. If any potential burglars are reading, note that Tom and the dogs are staying home, this trip.


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