I wouldn’t want to start with the nasty things, but I guess there is no going back now that the heading is out there. Have you ever thought that a being as big as a whale would need a lot of water for their WC. I guess that’s why they live in the ocean.
We wanted to make sure we saw whales before we left the coast, because the puff of vapour we saw in Brookings, Oregon, could have been a strong wave. So when we saw a flyer for a tour, starting from a small town on the coast of Monterey Bay named Moss Landing, we decided to go for it! Driving into the little seaside community felt almost like going to work in Kohtla-Järve because of the power plant on the edge of town. We arrived at 8 pm and found no-one willing to take us out on the ocean, so we spent the night and tried again the next morning.
We were at the harbour around 9 am, all ready and set to go . There were a lot of other people ready, too. One thing they had and we didn’t – was reservations. There were at least 3 different companies with different boats and they were all sold out! Weekends in the migrating season of the whales aren’t the best time to get on a tour without a reservation! Especially in the Monterey Bay area, that is well known for its abundance of sea creatures. There is a canyon in the bottom of the bay, larger than Grand Canyon, that is a good habitat for plankton and krill, making the bay a popular restaurant for whales.
We started to look for other options and found out that Sanctuary Tours– the company we saw the flyer for, actually had a second tour in the afternoon so we booked our tickets and headed to the beach to kill some time.
Before we got back to the whales (and poop) we saw a lot of interesting things on the beach – we saw people riding horses, fishing, combing the sand with metal detectors, strolling, picnicking, playing ball, but what amazed us the most – having fun in the cold water for hours! We couldn’t soak our toes for more than 10 minutes in the 14-15 C ocean. Crazy!
Anyway, back to the whales. We got on a small boat with about 20 other people and captain Mike and his marine biologists took us out on the ocean. We were warmed up with sea lions and sea otters and then after a while someone screamed “whale” and everyone flocked to see, but there was nothing. Few more miles over the small waves glimmering in the sun and the marine biologist pointed out a puff that was followed by a big black hump! And then a tail slipping gently into the big blue ocean. Awesome! Everyone was so excited! Some Humpback whales were further away, some were closer, some splashed their tail harder, some didn’t show it at all. The one with the biggest jumps was the furthest, of course. Then, like from a tourists dream, there were dolphins! Not too jumpy and playful, but still beautiful to look at.
When heading back, we saw the grande finale – one of the majestic whales painted a spot in the ocean. It was reddish-orange because of all the krill (type of shrimp) it had eaten! Our boat made a circle around the magnificent work of art, people taking pictures. You don’t see that in a dog park! There is no picture to show in the blog just because it didn’t pass the censorship.
We understand, that the whale watching tours disturb the animals, but we hope they are forgiving because of all the joy and happiness they bring into peoples lives. It’s one thing to see a picture of a whale and other seeing one with your own eyes!
Whales watched, we were ready to hit the road towards sequoias and Yosemite. We shaked the sand of the west coast beaches out of our sheets, but instead of sleeping in the car we picked a Super 8 motel to recharge ourselves and all the batteries of our crucial equipment.
Traveled so far: 3715 km
Best surprise: sooo many good fruit stands on the way!