Jan. 10, 2006
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We missed the only whale that the watchers spotted this
day off Bodega Head, a gray whale that breached only a few hundred
yards off the point at 12:24 that afternoon. But it was still a beautiful
day for a hike along the bluff.
On the drive back to town, I told the girls about the time we went
whale watching accidentally. I was about 12, and my family and I were
out in our 19-foot, open-bow ski boat, somewhere off Palos Verdes. It was
mid-afternoon and everyone was drowsing about while I was getting a chance
at the wheel, far away from anything I could run into. Or so we thought. All
that changed when a gray whale surfaced about 50 feet ahead of us and blew
out its spout. "Uh, Dad .... I think you better take the wheel!"
We found ourselves in the midst of a pod of several gray whales who were so
close we could clearly see the barnacles on their backs. Dad took the wheel
and navigated us out of the pod without one of those monsters rising up below
us -- an act which would have thrown us all into the sea. Once clear, we followed them
for a while from a relatively safe distance.
I never went whale watching again. I figured there was no beating that experience.