Whales are intelligent, aquatic mammals that breath oxygen, give birth to live offspring, have a complex family and social structure, and migrate together in pods.
Have you ever seen whales swimming in the ocean?
I can’t think of a word to describe the thrill you feel when you see one of those magnificent creatures flying through the air, and thrashing their tails against the water as they dive back into the ocean right next to the boat where you’re standing gawking.
Mr F and I went on a whale watching cruise earlier this month on one of those rare days in the year where the ocean was literally smooth as glass, and the February sun was hot – with temps in the high 70’s.
There is no Highway for Whales, they don’t swim according to set time tables or specific routes, so although the brochures promise *Whales* the boats sometimes return without finding them.
There are two types of whales:
toothed whales include dolphins, porpoises, sperm whales and killer whales.
baleen whales which strain their food through large sieve-like baleen in the jaws, include the blue whale, the bowhead, the right whale, the gray and the humpback.
He took us ten miles out to sea, and close to Catalina Island, we found a pod of California Gray Whales swimming a five-mile-an-hour zigzag as they made their way north.
Whales usually give birth in warm waters and migrate to cold water for feeding.
The gray whale may have the longest migration round trip of any animal on earth. It goes 6,000 miles from the Bering Sea in the Arctic to the waters off southern California to breed and then returns to the north. When migrating the whales can cover over a hundred miles in a day in some cases, but do not use their maximum speeds in order to conserve energy.
Because whales have lungs instead of gills they have to come up for air (which they get through a blowhole on the top of their heads).
When the whale comes up to breathe, and it blows water out of it’s blow hole up into the air, it’s called a spout.
Captain Gary allowed me to photograph the GPS in the wheel room
and we saw these
California Sea Lions
After the boat docked we walked a few miles south along the beach path
to the pier at Belmont Shores.
We ate a very tasty burger with prize winning beer at Belmont Shores Brew Pub and were entertained by these parrots who were in the trees next to the restaurant.
At the end of the day when we walked back to the car in Long Beach, the sun painted pictures in the sky.
[As some of you know, I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and lost everything when I pressed *publish*. Oh well… the joys of the internet.]