Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ocean Adventures

  For the second weekend in a row now, I've been lucky enough to get some much needed down time! This time, instead of desert, it was ocean waves, sea air, and boats.
  Friday, we were supposed to catch a boat out of Marina Del Rey to do some whale watching. Due to horrible (read: pretty standard) LA traffic, we missed our boat. It was a rough start to the day, and incredibly disappointing. We decided to drive out to the PCH anyway, and just see what kind of trouble we could drum up.
  Around Malibu, I remembered years ago going to a really scenic part of the beach called Point Dume. Actually, I remembered only that it was "Point something" or "something Point." With a little good fortune, we actually found it, and hiked down the moderately tall seaside cliffs to the rocky shore.
  We spent a good couple hours here, taking pictures of the surfers, the waves, and the gorgeous scenery before moving on. The remainder of the day was spent eating tasty seafood, cruising the PCH up to Ventura, and just enjoying.
  Saturday morning, we were able to make our re-booked boat out of Marina Del Rey. The weather was beautiful, and the water was fairly calm. It was really nice just being out on the ocean, and feeling the sea spray on our faces as the Matt Walsh bounced through the surf.
  We were informed that the chance of seeing whales is pretty random, and some days there just aren't any around.
  Soon, though, we ran into our first sea life of the day- a pod of dolphins! They were leaping out of the water, crossing in front of our boat, and just generally being playful. It was incredible to see them in such large numbers. About fifteen minutes later, we saw a big group of sea lions, and they seemed equally happy to be out frolicking in the ocean. No whales, though. For a good long while after that, in fact, there was nothing but water.
  When we hit about the halfway point on our trip out, I knew we'd be heading back soon, and I began to worry that we wouldn't get a glimpse of any of the large sea beasts.
  Just then, the captain of the boat called out that they had spotted a whale almost directly ahead. Everybody was naturally very excited, and crowded to the bow.
  What at first seemed disappointingly far away soon got much, much closer. The back of the first blue whale breached the surface, and mist sprayed out of the blowhole. It was the first time I'd ever seen a whale in person, and it was thrilling. Within minutes, our boat was surrounded by about five blue whales, who had come to this particular area to feed.
  After hanging out silently with the whales for a good fifteen minutes, we headed back to port. Along the way, our dolphin friends returned, this time in even greater numbers, jumping and splashing all around the boat. The crew was pretty thrilled, and told us that we had been extremely fortunate to see that many whales in one place, and that it was very rare for these tours. I guess our bad-luck traffic from the day before hadn't been so bad after all?
  All in all, it was a great weekend, and something I would highly recommend if you find yourself presented with the opportunity.

You can click HERE to see all of the weekend's pictures.

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