8/10/22 “Lunge Feeding, Risso’s, & a Mighty Blue Whale”
Guess who’s back, back again? You guessed it: the wind. Stiff Northwesterlies greeted us almost immediately as we left the harbor, though with otherwise flat water, their effect was mostly only visual (small, frequent white caps and the occasional light spray over the bow). Undeterred, we soon reached the edge of the canyon, where many humpback whales were scattered around for various whale boats to see. We settled on a group of 2, which soon turned into a group of four… then six! Birds, and sealions, and clear water all mixed in and around to craft that classic “Safari” feel we love so much. Almost exactly at the same time we started to talk about moving on, the humpbacks flipped a certain, special switch… the simplicity of said switch’s name belies the gravity of it’s meaning. Friendly Whales. Ho man, if you think a 50-foot whale, flying out of the water is cool, wait till you have one rub up against the boat for an hour (with his friends). In my own words, I call Friendly Whales the “jack pot” of the wildlife lottery. Indeed. The next hour was spent with six humpbacks, who circled the boat, deliberately sprayed our passengers, and rolled around directly underneath them, staring eye to eye. I think someone at the back was crying (happy tears). Finally, the humpbacks got hungry, and moved. By this time, the wind had increased significantly and so too did waves and chop. Not being ones to beat our passengers up, nor to exacerbate any stirring stomachs, we made haste for the dock (though executed a thorough search for anything new on the way home, settling on a raft of 10 sea otters – including a 2 week old pup! – just off the Aquarium. Overall, and despite the choppy seas, it was by far one of the most incredible trips I (Isaiah) have been on in weeks, if not months. Now, astute readers may note from our sightings reports that our sister ship reported dolphin and one killer whale. Truth be told: very shortly after leaving the humpback whales, and just as the sea conditions had reached a certain point where words like “safety” and “seasickness” began to creep in on our minds, we received the radio call that the other boat had just stumbled on the Killer Whale. Where? Several miles out west: the wrong way. Could the boat handle it? Yes. Could the crew handle it? Yes. Could we, in good conscious exposed our diverse set of passengers to such conditions (in the interest of seasickness and – most importantly – safety). Probably. The thing is, is that when “Passenger Safety” enters the equation, “Probably” isn’t good enough. With a sigh, a shrug, and a smile, captain Rod and I looked at each other and said, “Friendly Whales.”
Overall, both boats had stellar trips with stellar whales. Sea shanties were sung (both boats), and adventure and education were shared by all.
And as everyone walked away, turning their backs on the sea, the northwesterly winds overtook the bay, cancelling the afternoon trips, and the entire next day.