January 10, 2009
The Ocean is a Desert with its Life Underground,
And the Perfect Disguise Above.
The weather this weekend was forecast for clear skies with Santa Ana winds building in the mountains later in the day. So I planned to do my first kayak paddle of the year. Due to the Holidays, family obligations, and some days of very dense fog at the beach I did not get out on the kayak. Although I did get in my traditional New Years Day dive.
I arrived at the beach later than usual, about 1030. It was warm and sunny with small surf at La Jolla Shores, occasional sets of 3 to 4 feet. There was just a gentle breeze coming from the southwest. I went through the surf and got the regular cold water wake-up slap in the face. Very bracing, and believe it or not one of the pleasures of kayaking.
Started heading due west, bypassing my usual excursion over to the cliffs and caves. Just went immediately out to the western kelp bed to the northwest of the Children’s Pool. Then I turned south to Marine Street beach. This was my planned turn around point. Since it has been a while since paddling I decided to keep it short.
When I paddle I really enjoy experiencing my surroundings. The sights, smells, and sounds of the Ocean. I sometimes will pause in my paddling and just listen to the Sea. Absolute quite, broken only by the cry of a sea bird or the huff of a sea lion or seal taking a breath. And I also think about what I will write in this Blog. But I have previously discussed many of those aspects of kayak in past entries.
Now if this were my dive log I would record the particulars of a dive regardless of how uneventful a dive turns out to be. Of course, a dive log has the added function of being a record of the ones dive history for Dive Operators to know your experience level or possible medical reasons if a problem with Decompression develops. But this Blog is not only a record of my kayak experience, but an exercise in creative writing that I hope is enjoyable to read. So I was debating weather or not to make an entry at all. This paddle was turning out to be a very nice but typically uneventful day in Paradise.
Well, I reached Marine Street and turned north to head back. I had paddle up to the inside kelp bed just off The Children’s Pool, and was passing by a Sea Urchin fisherman’s boat. He had his Dive flag raised and was underwater on a hookah. (For non-divers that is an air supply from a compressor on the boat with a hose down to the diver.) Coming out from behind his boat something on the horizon to the west caught my eye.
The Ocean is generally a flat surface, except for the swell. So when something rises above the surface it is usually worth checking out. This time what caught my eye was a puff of gray mist. Whale sign! I immediately turned in that direction, west past the outside kelp beds. I continued to scan the horizon to spot the whale sign again. A few minutes later there was another puff, a little closer and traveling slowly south. I figured it was a half-mile or so west of my position. Again and again over the next few minutes I would see a puff, then the back of the whale as he arched through the water. Then I got a glimpse of the flukes as he sounded to the bottom. This I believe is a sign that it was feeding. And it seemed that it was now not moving south but staying in the vicinity I had first spotted it. Then, simultaneously, to my left and to my right about one hundred yards apart I saw two spouts and two flukes rise above the surface and sound in perfect unison. So what I though might be one whale I now had proof of at least two. I continued to paddle in their direction for a bit. But after many minutes they surfaced far to the southwest. And there was no hope of my getting any closer than the quarter to half mile I got. After that I turned towards The Shores. At least I would now have something to write in my Blog.
Wetsuits VS Drysuits
4 years ago