Friday, August 6, 2010

WHALES!

We got up a little earlier today, greeted a foggy morning in Santa Barbara - okay, so it's pretty much been foggy every morning...



But a foggy day in Santa Barbara is still a good day.  Mr. Tennis and I skipped our SAMBO'S breakfast and had a tasty continental one at our hotel.  This is something we've missed, complete with local pastries and fresh bagels and fruit.  We will be doing "The Continental" again tomorrow morning before our morning train trip back to LA.

We boarded the seaworthy Condor Express:

It was a choppy day.  Passengers were warned that if they were prone to seasickness and not medicated to get a refund.  We would NOT, I repeat, NOT be visiting the Channel Islands or "The Cave".  The whales were too far out and all our time and effort would be spent reaching their feeding spot - 40 miles offshore.  Since we didn't know what "The Cave" was or the Channel Islands AND had taken Triptone to ward off seasickness, we were ago!  If only everyone had taken those little pills....

Anyway, our first slowdown with the engines was to view some awesome dolphins.  Not your average Florida, Bottlenose, Flipper-type dolphins.  These were "Common Dolphins" with striking dark coloring.  Below is a stock picture, but I also have my pictures which aren't as clear.





But here are a couple I took as they swarmed alongside the boat:






After about an hour and a half our captain stopped the boat to point out these dolphins that had the biggest dorsal fins I have ever seen on dolphins.   They are Risso's Dolphins and appear very scarred along their bodies.  Apparently it is common amongst their pod to scrape their teeth alongside each other's bodies as a sign of bonding.  They were SO big!


That was the best shot I could get, but take a look at this shot of one of their fins!



Now tell me that doesn't make you think: "Jaws"?

Here's a stock picture of one of these beauties:







So, as I said, we were on quite the rollicking boat ride through the waves with our crew determined that we would find whales.  Check this point of view experience:



Now you have a sense about perhaps why some of our tripmates were a little green around the gills.

We were very lucky on our trip.  The captain of the boat had sacrificed some popular stops on the trip in order for us to see some whales.  He and his crew did a tremendous job of locating the feeding spot and bringing us up as close as possible to see not only Humpback Whales, but also the less-seen Blue Whales.

The first indication that we were in the right area was the sight of their water spouts from their blowholes.  Humpback Whales' spouts are about 15 feet high, Blue Whales' are 30 feet.

Here I have a shot of a Humpback Whale water spout:


I was a poor photographer this day.  I forgot to charge my battery properly, so my pictures and videos are limited, but please believe me when I say we saw perhaps 30 whales at least.  Mr. Tennis has some video on his iphone, but we don't know how to get it onto Youtube yet, so you are stuck with my limited footage.  To give you a comparison, we went on a whale watch in Maine several yeas ago and saw one Humpback Whale.  So, this experience was just exceptional.
My whale footage, although basic is at least part of our experience.  It was a great day.



Friday, Mr. T and I head back on the Amtrak towards LA.  There we will rent a car and head for Seal Beach, just south of Long Beach.  The Maven, The Writer, Sammy and Mr. Stanley will meet us there for the weekend.  We hope to enjoy the quiet, quaint community that is Seal Beach and enjoy many of the local restaurants, shops and entertainments.  You will probably hear from me towards the end of the weekend before The Maven and I begin our journey across this great country via our trusty Sacred Cow.

Water logged Boston Lady, out.

5 comments:

Orlando Grandma said...

You are brave, may have been too choppy for me, but what a show, I enjoyed the videos.
It will be fun for all of you to be together for the weekend. Say hi to the kids and you all take care.

Lindsey said...

wow! i have just been catching up! that trip sounds so great! i cannot wait to spend a great weekend at the beach! ride safely :]

The_Tyro said...

wow this reminds me of our times in maine on the whale watch out of bar harbor. looks like a blast and that you got to see a lot of whales.

KarenSue said...

Great pictures! You all are doing some really fun stuff.
Be safe on the drive back.
Biiiiggggg surprise when you get home!

Mr. Connor said...

Just about like being there. I need a sea sick pill ! ! !
Have a great time in LA .