Whale Watchin’

Normally I enjoy the the warm afterglow of a long night’s rest while marinading in my sheets but this Sunday morning, 7am, I’m up.  Church you ask?  Nope, whale watching.  Joelle had bought a living social deal which was about to expire and we had a an open day. If growing up near the ocean has taught me one thing, it’s that whales are a fickle mammals.  Hence the fact that most whale watching companies offer coupons to come back if you get skunked.  I had my skeptical cap on, it’s a top hat.

Cut to me driving down through downtown with an overheated Starbucks sausage sandwich in one hand and a grande, medium blend, black coffee in the other.  I told myself I’d never become that person, and just when I thought I was playing it cool enough to pull it off, I almost hit a homeless guy and spill my coffee all over my girlfriend.

Nope…still me.

Fretting the looming clouds, I asked Suri what the weather was going to be like in Newport .  After her suggesting she search the web for a new sport, I spoke slower and got the answer I was looking for.  Cool and cloudy till about the time we were supposed to finish up.  Fantasticles.

No, I didn’t do anything in post to make this look more gloomy, though it was actually nice and calm out. This photo is a little haunting.

Lactose intolerant stomach half full of the remainder of my coffee and a micro-nuked sausage and cheese sandwich, I stepped on to this beauty…

…of a faithful ship…

…with the theme song from Gilligan’s Island running through my head.  I’d get all the way up to, “three hour tour,”  and try to substitute, “one and a half hour tour,” which was the length of our little excursion, but I couldn’t fit it in.  Then I thought about the distance you could actually get in three hours and it’s not that far.  Unless the Skipper found the fucking island from Lost they had to be on an oil rig off Long Beach or something.  Which brought me to my next thought; Gilligan’s Island was a very progressive show.  Throw a Dharma jumpsuit on the professor and add a few polar bears and you’ve got yourself a hit.  At this point Joelle is giving me a quizzical look.  I could try to explain the meandering dribble of my thought process, but it’s always easier to just say, “Nothing.”

What I caught myself staring at as I dove into the paradox that could have been Gilligan’s Lost Island.

As we pulled out of the slip the clouds began to part.  There’s something soothing about the sun breaking through for the first time; Probably the satisfaction that I wasn’t suffering the sticky film of sunscreen for no reason anymore.  Heading out of the harbor we came across many Sunday morning boaters, and early risers out paddle boarding and kayaking.  This makes me wish I’d lived down here, even for a short while.

The group next to us took advantage of the half off drink offer and quickly filled their hands with Heinekens.  I almost thought that was a good idea, but then remembered it’s 10am, and I’m not an alcoholic.  I think a cold heiney would have done wonders for the concoction I was brewing in my belly as well.  Our first stop was the Harbor marker.  A guarantee live animal spotting, as the sea lions never leave it.

The territorial locals of the Newport Harbor marker. Photo courtesy of Joelle Pittman http://memtolax.com/

It’s nice being out on the water.  As you can see the clouds decided to move on.  The halo effect is from my polarizer.

Amidst the collection of Jack Johnson and Sublime songs the kid driving the boat announced we’d be heading towards a pod of dolphins, and when I say kid I mean guy a little younger than I.  I’m not sure why I said kid.  There might be a little jealousy there.  If I’d had a job when I was his age, I would’ve day dreamed about having his job at that job.  Come on, driving a boat all day, down by the beach, Sperrys and khaki cargos.

Anywho, the dolphin pod…they had estimated it to be around 1000.  I would have said around 850, but I didn’t want to be that guy.  This was actually small for a pod, but it’s always exciting.  I was actually hoping for this caus I don’t have the lens for a long shot of a whale spout, but I know dolphins come up and play, and they did.

Looking back at Newport Beach

They’d come up along side our boat, breech and fall to their side so they could see us.  There were many babies as well.  You could catch a glimpse of one every once in a while.  They were about half the size of the rest.

The best shot I could get of a baby.

We had left this pod to head to deeper waters in search of bigger whales.  The pod followed us for a short while, showing off, then let us be.

After about 10 minutes, I was in a trance from the warm sun and gentle, rhythmic rocking of our  tour boat, when the Captain cut off Sublime’s acoustic version of Rivers of Babylon, to tell us they’d found a bigger pod of dolphins.  Which was actually his way of telling us we’d see no big whales today.  This pod was definitely larger.  They surfed our wake and played all around us as we headed back towards the Harbor.

I took one last shot of nothing and shuddered.  After seeing Apollo 13, with Tom Hanks, when I was a kid, I always had this fear about becoming an astronaut, returning to Earth in that pod and getting lost at sea caus the homing beacon burned up on reentry.  I guess my fears are a little misguided as that was the last thing that crew was probably worried about, and I could never be an astronaut.  I black out on Disneyland rides, and I don’t think I’m smart enough.  I mean, they made a carbon dioxide filter out of stuff they had floating around!  My favorite thing to do in science class was sticking marshmallows in the vacuum tube.  If the whole world were made up of clones of me, we’d still live in caves, fire would only be harvested from lightning strikes and coveted by the elders and ladder ball would be a national sport.

Beautiful, but gives me the creeps.

I tried to amuse myself as we puttered back through the harbor.

I also took a very cute picture of Joelle, but she vetoed it.  So, here’s a wooden cleat instead.

The whole day made me miss living next to the ocean, but reminded me that I’m close and I should take more advantage of that.  It was a beautiful day and a great excursion.

One Comment on “Whale Watchin’

  1. My favorite line: “I also took a very cute picture of Joelle, but she vetoed it. So, here’s a wooden cleat instead.” Love you!

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