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Old 11-06-2009, 17:22   #1
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San Diego Bay Whale Story

After reading the previous San Diego Bay story I though I would pass along our San Diego Bay whale encounter.

We sail a Hunter 260 in AZ inland lakes. With a trailerable boat we like to run over to San Diego Bay and enjoy Coronado island especially staying a night or two at Glorietta Inn. My wife enjoys sailing but is always leary about ocean waters. As she says there are things that can eat me out there...I conviced her all is well in the bay and nothing to worry about...till our last cruise during spring break this year.

We were out for the bay for a nice AM crusie on the north end by the paddlewheel and cruise ships. There were a few power boats lingering around the area so we turned out. We were on a port tack and my wife sitting on the starboard side taking some pictures. Ironically she was saying how nice the bay was and how she was feeling a bit silly about her concerns.

Over her shoulder I saw a dark color in the water and pointed it out to my wife. Just abut that time a cub whale fluted about 100 yards..she turned to get a picture but I was more worried that he was heading in our direction. Thinking he was diving I thought there would be no issue. She kept her camera ready Just then about 40 yrds off of starboard the dark spot appreared again.

My wife turned and snapped a picture just as his tale broke the surface, this time headed directly toward our starboard. I told her to put the camera down and hold on...he may hit us. We watched as a cub whale passed directly under us and fluted on the port side, this time less than 20 yrds off our port. Yeah it is nice to see the whales but not this close in a small boat. Having fished a lot in AK I have seen what a whale can do when coming up under a small boat.

About that time a harbor patrol boat came running up us us quoting the whale protection act and directing us to move on as if I was out staking the whale.

Needless to say the conversation went to "I told you so status...I was just happy and releived that all we ended up with was a nice picture.

Tim and Rhonda
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Old 11-06-2009, 21:52   #2
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I see an occasional whale in the SF Bay. The vast majority of the time it never makes the press. The fewer people that know, the better for the whale.


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Old 15-06-2009, 11:20   #3
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It is thrilling to see whales when sailing. But I always like to keep my distance.
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Old 15-06-2009, 20:41   #4
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Great picture and a close call.
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Old 03-07-2009, 05:28   #5
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This reminds me of a story...

...a few guys in a Trimaran were sailing from California to Hawaii when they spot a pod of Orcas. From inside the main hull they can hear the whales singing, so they decide to sing back. Aparently they speak whale pretty well because an Orca "spy hopped" into the main hull, right through the bottom of it! They immediately turned around and headed back to the mainland, and spent the next few days trying not to fall through the whale-sized hole in the bottom of the boat.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:08   #6
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WELL, That's a whale of a story. This thing called sailing can be EXCITING........i2f
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:09   #7
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That's a bit of an unnerving encounter. I've seen 3 whales in 3 years of sailing. One was a gray whale and he was parallel to us. It was a great thrill for my friend's Dad who was visiting from Scotland and had not seen a gray whale before.

Last summer coming back to Newport from Catalina, I spotted a couple of plumes about 1/2 mile ahead to starboard. We were motoring back as there was no wind and we got about 200 yards away from the plumes and recognized the source as a pair of blue whales. Huge and a great photo op.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:38   #8
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very cool!!
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Old 06-08-2009, 15:11   #9
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Magical Moments

Two summers ago, on my way back from Catalina Island to the Port of Los Angeles here on the west coast, US, I saw two spoutings about 100 yds off my starboard beam. Pretty soon there was a spout no farther than 15 feet from me (just over 10 feet from the gunwale) off my port quarter! I jumped.

It was what I later identified as a pilot whale, which came up to spout on a close parallel course. I saw it submerge, then veer to starboard, and pass under my 5'3" keel. It continued to circle clock-wise, and came up a second time in the same spot, straight abeam from my shoulder. I was still stunned from the first spouting, but this time I could pay more attention: I made out markings, bumps and other indicia on its hide, and the white splash on the head on an otherwise quite black body, and heard both the exhalation and the higher-pitched inhalation of its breathing.

A second dive and circle, and it came up a third time in the same spot, as I was wondering how anyone would believe my story. This time, I was able to actually see the shiny blowhole close up just before it disappeared below the surface.

She then swam off to reunite with her mate, who was still station-keeping 100 yds. to starboard the whole time.

It was exhilarating!

That same summer, I was working to weather northward preparing to round the Palos Verdes Peninsula on a cold, misty morning, when I noticed I was closed on by a huge school of what turned out to be Dall's porpoises; I counted over 60 leaping black and white bodies, from my starboard quarter, moving up the coast. They overtook me, and for five minutes or so I was in the middle of their number. Five or six of them took turns surfing the pressure wall of my bow wave, and I observed over two dozen leap completely out of the water (typically, in their short leaps, the snout would be touching the water just before the tail cleared; but sometimes, the porpoise would sail into the air some three feet or so above the swell, so as to be completely free of the water momentarily).

They were charging up the coast with a purpose. I later read that Dall's love speed. It was thrilling to be in their midst, and it's always a bit sad when they tire of my slow hull and tear away to continue their frolic among the waves.

s/y Elizabeth Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." G. K. Chesterfield
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