Sunday, December 16, 2007

Project 30: Whale Watching on Monterey Bay

Task 2/30: Whale Watching from Moss Landing
Complete: December 1, 2007

Sanctuary Cruises Boat Whale Watching Crew!

I've wanted to go Whale Watching on the Monterey Bay for a while. I have grown up around boats my whole life, though admittedly not a huge fan, but have serious family roots in the whole nautical culture and think whales are cool. I can't remember the last time I was on a boat, when my parents went fishing, I road my bike but I had been whale watching once before on a ship in the 6th grade and we saw whales breach and it was amazing. I was eagerly wanting to take advantage of the access I had so easily living on this coast and there was no point in putting it off any longer. A ton of people also thought this was a great idea and we ended up with a pretty nice sized group to venture out on to the open ocean. But well, it was a boat. A small boat. Probably big to most people, but yeah, way smaller than I was expecting. Our group of 5 was half of the tourists on the boat, and then there was the captain and his deck hand. The boat supposedly could have held way more, but I was pretty pleased that we didn't feel like we had to step over people most of the time. (Since I stayed on the back of the boat the whole time, I rarely saw anyone else but my friends, since the other people stayed up front.)

Moss Landing Harbor

Moss Landing Harbor

The harbor part was actually really neat. We could have maybe just tooled around the harbor and looked at otters and birds and I would have been happy. I loved all the old fishing boats and trawlers. They have so much charm to me, even if it is all smelly. There were hundreds of birds of dozens of kinds. It was beautiful to see even though I usually strongly dislike birds. It sort of felt like an eerie horror movie as well, feeling that at any point, the birds could swarm and attack. There were otters playing and it was cute to see them just floating around on their backs. What a nice life that must be.

Monterey Bay

Once we got out onto the open sea, I started realizing I hadn't really thought through all that this was going to take out of me. I hate the ocean, I can't swim well, and I hate boats and now it was RAINING ON US. WHY the hell am I doing this again? Yeah, DUMB. I wasn't the only one who thought this was sort of a dumb idea after a while, and I started to beg everyone to still be my friend after. I hadn't done it from the start, but I wish I had, and quickly tracked down the crew lady to buy myself a relief band to shock the sickness out of me. It was beautiful. I cranked that sucker to 5 and my stomach eased itself away in time to enjoy the bulk of the sights, including a really awesome full double rainbow. It was really amazing and I was happy. I sat back and did some quiet thinking about mother nature and the world and respecting this great body that was carrying me safely. I thought about sailors who worship the waves, and who live for the floating feeling beneath them. It felt nice and I once again was happy that I was there.

Rainbow on Monterey Bay 52 Weeks: Week 3: Whale Watching

We continued on and my focus point on the shore was merely a tiny speck. We got radio calls that there were some orcas and you could see the many boats circling about. All of us expressed some concern about harassing the whales but the other boats quickly gave up while it was only us that continued on. We truly benefitted too because we ended up finding the tricky little things and following along with the same pod for quite a while. I love orcas, they are so beautiful and such an amazing unexpected treat. We thought we were heading towards the orcas but ended up finding a group of Risso's dolphins, a rare type of dolphin you can only see in the ocean, as they do not survive in captivity. They look like they are glowing under the water because they are a shiny silver and reflect the green of the water.


Risso's Dolphins

We headed back in, and the ride in was much smoother as we went with the waves but it still seemed to take forever. On the docks, I walked quickly over the planks to the parking lot, just so grateful for ground under me that wasn't moving. Between the freezing cold and wind to the rocking of the waves, your body is wiped after and I still had a bit of a drive to crawl back into bed. I was pleased with the trip, but I bet you it will be quite a while before I get myself on a boat again! This gal is a land lover for sure, but Mission Accomplished!

2 down...28 to go!

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