Posted by Dick R on May 1, 2005

At last, I've seen whales from a kayak. A couple of days ago, I was at San Simeon, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. There is a nice little harbor there, one of the few places along the 100 mile Big Sur coast where it is possible to put in. About a half-mile off-shore, I heard the unmistakable sound of a whale exhaling, and soon had them not more than two boat lengths away. One stuck her entire head out of the water and gave me a good looking over. A couple of times, there was boiling water just off my bow, causing me to back-paddle out of mild concern. A whale would exhale, stay surfaced for a few moments, then slide below the surface again. I would say there were 8-9 whales in the pod, on their way to Alaska after the calving and mating season in Baja California.

Today, I stopped along Route 1 just north of San Simeon to see the approximately 2000 elephant seals hauled out on the beach. I had a nice long discussion with a volunteer docent who filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of these creatures and much more besides. As I watched young males practicing for the real mating battles to come in a few years, several more gray whales were spotted about a quarter-mile off-shore.

Now you have good reason to finish building your kayak! Don't be too concerned about that pretty finish and get her in the water.



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