Saturday, January 25, 2014

With or With Out Whales

Business trips are grueling affairs. Lots of time in airplanes, airports, busses, hotel rooms, and conference rooms. The settings are not designed to promote well being; they are just functional spaces. The time in them are marathon sessions of power point and mediocre movies. The alcohol consumed is a required anesthetic.
The one free day you get has to count. Weeks before leaving I booked reservations for a kayak tour that promised whale watching. I needed something to mask the anticipatory dread of the trip. It sounded perfect. Sun, ocean, sea life and two hours of kayaking.
Yesterday morning, on what turned out to be the best weather day of the trip, I showed up a La Jolla Kayaking. They provided everything for the trip: sit on top kayak, paddle, pfd, guide, and a wetsuit. The equipment was in good shape. It was about what one expects from a tour company in a sunny climate.
There was a surf advisory for the area, but the beach where the tour launched was flat. Apparently, La Jolla cove has a deep water trench that flattens out big swells. To the south we could see big breakers along the shore.
We paddled off the beach and out to the deep water following the kelp beds to the south. The sky and water were clear and we had great views of the coast and the open ocean. We hoped to spot some grey whales. Our guide said that we had a good chance of seeing some. People have been seeing them regularly.
Early on we spotted two pods of dolphins chasing fish. They were small white striped dolphins and looked very cool. We tried to get close to them, but they sped along faster than we could.
After the dolphins, we spent a long time just enjoying being on the water. We kept our eyes open, but saw little save for the scenery. The ocean was providing some nice color as well. You could see the big swells rolling in and sliding past. The periods were long, so it felt like a gentle rocking.
On the return trip, we saw several seals playing in the water. A few times we thought they might be whales, but it was just seals. The seals looked like they were having as much fun as we were.
The trip ended without any whale sightings, but that didn't matter. Spending a few glorious hours on the water under the California sun was more than enough. And that was before lunch..

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