Whales and pelicans

San Diego, 2nd November 2019

The sea is calm today; the kayakers are on the ocean again close to shore; further out, the dolphins are not there in great pods just a handful moving quickly seawards with little show. The whales are easier to find; the first spot is a Minke that appears as a smooth grey sliver above the surface with a small, almost vestigial, dorsal fin; then we travel nearly 13 miles out from the shore to see two humpbacks that are on the surface to take air and then shallow dive for a few minutes together. The brief views of body and barnacle-encrusted tails are exciting but frustrating.

We want the whales to put on a show but they are just too busy and disinterested in us. Good for them. On the long run home, a large female humpback is at the surface exhaling air, looking sleek and magnificent.

Brown pelicans looking like pterodactyls glide over the sea and gulls line the beach as we head in to the sheltered harbour. We have travelled from the city to a prehistoric wilderness and back in the space of a few hours; it is a long but exhilarating journey at the edge of the ocean.

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