The Hottest Blood of All

Earlier today we drove up to near San Carlos (about two and a half hours away) to where the gray whales hang out in a sheltered bay there. Along with an RVing couple from Alberta, Canada, Rachel and I went out in a small motorboat with Saira and Michael to meet the whales. I figured, OK, if we're lucky maybe we'll see some, but it the reality of it is a lot more overwhelming.

Almost immediately we saw that the bay was teeming with whales — pairs of them, each generally a fifty foot long thirty ton mother, each with a child maybe twenty feet long. Already this was more than I'd expected, but the babies are very curious and come right up to the boat, rolling over on their bellies asking to be rubbed. I was very surprised at how much they enjoy human contact… They approached the boat — it's not as if we chased them or anything like that. I have to emphasize that they came up to us and could leave any time they wanted; they chose to stay and I don't think there's anything I even could have bribed them with (except of course that barrel of krill I keep in my back pocket).

I shot a little video with my digital camera. Because it's not done with a proper camera, the quality is pretty poor, but if you'd like to get an idea of how close we were you can check out the footage above.

All in all we probably saw between fifty and a hundred whales and were at times surrounded by as many as a dozen simultaneously. Three pairs were curious enough to come and say hello, and they stayed within two or three feet of the boat for about five to fifteen minutes each. As I said, they appeared to absolutely love having their bellies and noses rubbed. Nothing I write here will adequately describe it and the video does not do it justice (although I admit I may be high-balling the sizes of the whales).

Honestly, the only thing that could have topped the experience would have been hopping out of the boat onto one of the whales and riding it to the depths of the sea to do battle with the kraken.

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  1. […] the way, I don’t have an ink rubbing of a humpback whale, but believe-it-or-not, but I have rubbed a humpback whale. Click the pic for a closer […]

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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