Saturday, April 21, 2012

Whales Sighted at Mission Beach Yesterday

Well, today (Friday, April 20) is my Furlough day from SDUSD Transportation. A day off with out pay designed to help the budget. The weather report said that In-land it will reach the 80's or 90's With temperatures in the desert in the 100's.

But along the Coast the high pressure is going to keep the fog and Marine layer hanging around the shoreline most of the day. But that is not going to stop me from getting out in the water.

Reports were that yesterday a Gray Whale and its calf were seen in the surf zone at Mission Beach. They were able to get video of the two whales. So I thought this would be as likely a day to see some whales as any.

So I got up early, loaded up the kayak and headed for Marine Room to launch. The weather report was accurate. It was overcast and cool. Not much wind though. So just before 0800 I headed out onto a gray green sea to try and spot some whales. The swell was kind of large out of the Northwest with another smaller, short interval, swell coming from the SW. The NW swell was big enough that I had to stay outside the reef breaks at Children's Pool, Wind & Sea, and Bird Rock.

I made it down to Crystal Pier in 90 minutes. There I took a break. While resting on my kayak I noticed a flock of Brown Pelicans coming towards me like a storm-cloud out of the WSW. They were following a large school of bait fish. As they came closer I noticed that not all the splashes were from a Pelican plunging into the water. A good sized pod of Dolphins (possible Pacific white-sided) hunted the same school. Resting there, the Pelicans and the Dolphins swam or flew right around my kayak. Never even pausing in their hunt, they plunged and splashed and dove all around me. In less then ten minutes the school was decimated and the birds and dolphins vanished as fast as they had appeared.

Not having seen any whales I decided I would head back north. I was going to paddle for half an hour until I got to Bird Rock and then take a rest. As I got to the south side of Bird Rock Cove I saw, off to my left, three large Bottlenose dolphins. They were on a course to the North. At first they were making good speed and to keep up I had to paddle as fast as I could. I did this for about half an hour with no break. Then about Wind & Sea it appeared that i lost them. By then they had crossed inside and were about 1/4 mile ahead.

I then rested for a short time. After proceeding on I caught sight of them again. Still between me and the shoreline. This time they were slowly hunting on the reefs. So slowly that I had to go about half my regular speed so as not to overtake them. I did this for about another hour. During that time a few Sea Lions came by to pester the Dolphins and check me out. Finally near to The Children's Pool I lost them for good.

Though I did not get to see any Gray Whales, it was a terrific paddle. Hit the shoreline at 1150, three hours fifty minutes after leaving. The last two hours spent following my three dolphin pals. The surf had fallen since I left and I stuck the landing with no spills.

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