Saturday, January 24, 2009

Killer Whale Sighting

Today seemed like a good day to get on the water. We took the boat to a beach on the back side of Carmen Island near the old salt mine. The ride was rough as we sped across the channel bumping our backsides the whole way. I clung to a towel for warmth and protection from the wind. I was being a good sport until about 45 minutes in when it seemed like we'd never get there and I suddenly had an urge to to kill Robert when, lucky for him, we spotted dolphins.

I've never seen so many at once; and so many young ones. There must have been a hundred. As usual, many followed our boat jumping and surging all around us. They were marvelous. The beach, when we finally arrived, was a nice stretch of white sand very thick with shells. We spent our time gathering shells and lying in the sun. The weather was just perfect, though the wind was beginning to pick up. We saw seagulls dining on beached Humboldt squid. Strange creatures, those squid.

I was dreading the return trip, but something wonderful happened along the way: We encountered killer whales. At first, I didn't believe Robert when he spotted them. There were two close to us and others at a greater distance. The two turned out to be mother and calf. They were breaching and diving and making quite a show. Incredibly, the two of them came right up to our boat, the baby close enough to touch if we'd been brave enough, but we were pretty jittery about the whole episode. You know, they're killer whales for Pete's sake.

God, they were magnificent. I tried to shoot some video, but between the rocking boat and the excitement and the glare of the sun I did not get the shots I wanted. I did get some of the two chasing down a water fowl, a duck, we thought. They seemed to be tormenting this poor duck. They would rush into it and attempt to toss it. But they never ate it. Amazingly, it managed in its weakened state to fly away eventually.

I posted a video, albeit a shaky one, here and on Youtube. However, the low quality is probably because there's not enough bandwidth here to upload high-quality video.

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