End of Summer, Part 2

Friday’s End of Summer Celebration, Part 2, was all about baleen, boats, and binoculars.

This was Leanne’s first trip out on the ocean. We were a bit concerned about her getting seasick but she handled the waves like a champ. 

She (and Leia) were much more interested in trying out their new binoculars - which made their first appearance while we were still tied to the dock - and in seeing what was available in the on-board snack bar.

Getting their sea legs, heading for the rail to watch the 40-50 dolphins that raced and played alongside our boat.

Elsa goes to sea.

Approaching Anacapa Island’s harbor.

This isn’t whale watching season, so most of the people on board got off on the island for a day of hiking, starting with this climb from the boat dock. The boat was a lot less crowded when we cast off for the return trip.

Still loving the binoculars.

The island is part of Channel Islands National Park.

The captain took us around the south end of the island, with great views of the arch, lighthouse, and the dozens of pelicans nesting on the rocks. (Fortunately we weren’t within smelling distance; that’s a lot of bird poop!)

We saw sea lions, seals, lots of different birds, and possibly an otter (Leia disagrees with me), before we turned around and headed back toward Channel Island harbor.

This trip was advertised as a “wildlife viewing” cruise, rather than whale watching, but the captain said if he heard of any whale sightings within a reasonable distance, he’d head that way. He didn’t need to bother - the whale came to us!

The water was so clear we could see the outline of this gray whale as he cruised directly toward us, 

eventually stopping about 50 yards away. 

That’s the boat’s railing at the bottom of the photo above. The whale was so close we could see the barnacles on his skin.

The crew had expected this to be a humpback, since gray whale migration happens in November, but this guy surprised them.

Heading home, tired and happy. Leanne says seeing the whale was great but the dolphins were still her favorite.