I’ve never been one for celebrating my birthday. It’s always been just another day and I rarely do much more than go to work or whatever else is usual and of course talk with my kids who always, sweetly, call. In fact, it feels a bit odd even writing about it here. But this year something was different. See, I was born in ’57 and this year I turned 57. It just seemed special somehow and I thought it was an occasion to be marked in some way.
Since I live near Monterey Bay and I’d seen signs about whale-watching, I’d been intrigued for a while and thought it would be a really nice way to spend my birthday. I love nature, I love being outdoors, I love seeing wildlife, I think whales are amazing, graceful animals and so, yeah, whale-watching…. that’s what I wanted to do for my birthday.
I invited my friend Lin to go with me and she came over the night before so we’d be ready to go first thing in the morning. Being that I’m prone to sea-sickness, I dutifully took my Dramamine an hour and a half before the boat’s departure time. We set off early in the day and after a nervous delay due to a weird traffic jam, made it to the boat on time and it left the dock at about 9:00a.m.
Then we began our voyage out to sea. The water was very calm ….it looked very calm, anyway. As we headed out, we had a really nice view of the Aquarium from the sea side.
A little further out we saw this Stellar Sea Lion resting on a buoy replete with the obligatory seagull on top. They’re more golden than most other sea lions and are, unfortunately, endangered.
Then off we went in search of whales. What we (all of us on the boat) were searching for was the spout of the whales as they surfaced. Searching the horizon, I couldn’t help but notice that though, the sea looked calm….it wasn’t. Up and down, side to side, rolling waves and waves and more waves and suddenly I’m thinking the Dramamine isn’t working quite as well as I’d hoped. ‘Okay, kid,’ I tried encouraging myself, ‘hang in there. It’ll kick in any time now….’
We saw our ‘sister’ boat stopped at one point and lo and behold….
So everyone scrambled to get a shot…..
…..it was great!
(Don’t forget, you can click on the pictures to get a better view).
Right around this time my brain and stomach were no longer on speaking terms. No amount of ‘hang in there’ was helping and I grasped for the railing at the side of the boat and
threw my guts up fed the fish.
The tour guide very politely asked me to ‘go to the back of the boat – it’s more stable back there.’ What he left unsaid was, ‘also, that way, the wind won’t catch what you’re tossing overboard and blow it all over everyone else in the boat!’
Oy. I thought, ‘Well, it’s probably good that I got that out of the way. Too bad it had to happen, but oh well, I’ll be alright now.’ ….NOT.
In between trips to the side of the boat, I was able to get a few more shots….
Honestly, I was really happy to see these gorgeous creatures. My stomach was furious with me but, what’re you gonna do? It was a 4 hour cruise…..and I still say well worth it.
I sat on a bench, hanging on to it and to my head at the same time. There were people standing around the sides, looking out. One time I started running toward the side and, quite aware of my plight by now, they ran to opposite sides of the boat and gave me a wide berth to carry out my, er, activity. It was actually kind of funny to see and I think I’d’ve laughed if I hadn’t been ….feeding the fish.
I really tried to stay in an upright position for as long as I could, but I kept thinking ‘I’ve got to lie down. I don’t care if I lie on the floor of the boat, I’ve just got to lie down.’ There was an unoccupied bench in an interior area of the boat and I lay down on it, closed my eyes and just tried to breathe deeply. Finally, I suppose after about a half hour or so, I did begin to feel better so got up and took a few more pictures…..
We were headed back to land by then. Land! Oh, land, god I love land. I’m not sure I can say it was a fun trip….fun’s not quite the right word, you know? But I’m so happy I went. Very happy to have seen whales. Really beautiful amazing animals.
After finally getting off that
god-forsaken boat, we went over to the Aquarium. It was especially nice going then because it was mid-week and not nearly as busy as it is on a weekend…..and here are a few pics from there.
Love those jellies!
These little guys were such a trip! Polka dotted.
As I was taking pictures of the Cuttle Fish, this one scooted over directly where I was standing, as if to say, “Me! Me! Take my picture!” Lin thought it looked like an elephant….maybe wearing a cape?
As I watched the fish in the two story high ‘Open Sea’ exhibit, I became more intrigued by the reflections the fish made off the ‘under-surface’ of the water, than by the fish themselves.
So, all in all, it was a terrific, if not weird, birthday! I spent it with my great friend, I got to see whales, we went to the Aquarium, we ate Greek food (I was oddly hungry later in the day….) and when we got back to my place, I crashed! I think the Dramamine had finally kicked in. Happy birthday to me. (:
One last pic….Jelly lights!