Today was writing, whale-watching, writing, whale-watching, writing. I went on morning and evening whale-watching trips and each was excellent, each was different from the other and from my earlier trip (which seems like it was ages ago!).
Taken together these two trips provided more blue whales, 2 humpback whales, lots of Risso’s dolphins, lots of Pacific white-sided dolphins, lots of northern right-whale dolphins, harbour porpoise, sea otters and California sea lions (mustn’t forget them even though they are everywhere).
There were birds too! Cassin’s and rhinoceros auklets. black-footed albatross and Heermann’s gull.
And there were people on the boats – fellow punters like me. They were interesting too. I think predicting who will get seasick and throw up is quite interesting (and quite difficult). And it is quite difficult to tell who will be very enthusiastic about the trips (which last 3 hours or more) and who will begin to look bored stiff after a few minutes.
I met some nice people though – the Mom with her two children, the Afro-American couple and others.
Just as the people are a little unpredictable, so is the weather. My rule of thumb for going on any boat is that it will probably be both hotter and colder than you expected – so go prepared. I was fine, though I have caught the sun a little, but others who started off cheery returned a bit less cheery as a result of not wearing the right clothes.
Kate Spencer was the naturalist/biologist on board and she was excellent – full of information of the right type, delivered at the right times, in the right ways. Quite a class act and I enjoyed talking to her (she identified birds too!).
Each of the three trips was different – you can’t instruct nature to be in the right place at the right time. And that is part of the excitement for any naturalist – what will we see?
What a fantastic place is Monterey Bay. I had a marvellous time. Will I ever get back here – I doubt it? I’m glad I have visited. I have always wanted to see killer whale and now I have – that is great for me. Blue whales were not as high up on my list, but now I’ve seen a few I think they should have been. That enormous, lasting-forever, blue-grey back and that afterthought of a small fin make a lasting impression of majesty. But when you realise how badly we have treated this species, harpooning them in their thousands and thousands, then you can’t help, when you see them, to be glad that they are still alive and that makes you, or at least it made me, glad to be alive.