Monday, October 04, 2004

Whale Watching

Friends et al, getting ready for an 8 hour cruise out to the Farallones Islands and back under the auspices of Save the Bay. It was a grey day mostly, and for while, it did not look promising -- despite seeing a sunfish floating at the surface, and a ton of birdlife, at one notable instant, streaming from miles in all directions to one point far off our starboard bow. But no sharks rose to challenge us as we cruised past the Farallones, and the islands seemed not quite as busy with birdlife and sealions as they should have been.

But another boat had spotted a couple humpbacks and we made our way over. They were feeding and not particularly interested in us, but neither did they completely dissappear and avoid us ( as blues did to me and liz on a different boat a couple years ago ). We followed one along for a while, he/she even brought his or her nose out of the water as it swam along, and was within a boatlength or two for a while.

We also started to see a lot of sealions, rafting together or porpoising out in mad dashes to somewhere. It was cool to watch. They seemed to like hanging out with the whales as well.

The boat headed back, the passengers -- fairly well satisfied -- began to crash as they stopped fighting off the effects of dramamine (which I thankfully had not taken). I stared off at the sea on the sunny, non windy side of the boat for much of the way back, enjoying the play of light on water.

And then three more humpbacks showed up about halfway back, and stopped still a couple boatlengths distant to check us out a little before showing us the backsides of their flippers as they kicked into the depths. I would have given a lot to have been able to dive in after them and check 'em out underwater.

The best show in a way though was as we approached the gate, and the sky was suddenly alive with birds, and the water seemed to sprout porpoises swimming madly about; add to that a backdrop of the golden gate bridge and para gliding surfers, sailboats and some sun, it was a pretty glorious moment. For the fish the porpoises and birds were after it was probably a massacre, but I'm sure most got away.


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