Bobbing For Grey Whales

The Number 2 Marker

The Number 2 Marker

A couple of days ago I read a report advising that the migrating grey whales that visit Port Gardner Bay every spring were back in town.  So I hatched a plan to paddle out and visit with them for a while.

The forecast was for clear and sunny weather, so the thick blanket of fog that greeted me in the morning was no real surprise.  Of course I could have waited till the afternoon for the fog to burn off, but alas, time and tide wait for no man.  I knew the whales tend to feed on an incoming tide, and since high tide and sunrise were both happening about 0700 hours, I figured I better just launch  at dawn as planned.

The Bay

The Bay

The Chart

The Chart

I pulled up to the Hermosa Beach Road “launch area”.  It was really just a pile of logs and a gravel beach that I had used as a launch site many times over the years.

I scrambled my kayak over the logs and pushed off into the beautiful sunlit bay.  Thick banks of fog still lingered out on the big water, but for the moment all was well and the world was coming to life.  Several bald eagles were busy ripping up a fish.

I had no specific plan other than to just head out into Port Gardner Bay and Port Susan and see what happened.  The light NNE wind at 4 knots was just enough to insure that my fingers would remain just about frozen all morning.  I pottered around for a couple of hours without any whale sightings, just lots of seals and seabirds.  In case you need me to translate – Pottering in a boat is just like Noodling on a bicycle.  Basically just goofing off.

I did make a little movie while I was away at sea.  Spoiler Alert – I didn’t see any whales.

I sure like that Van Morrison song “Into the Mystic”.  Thanks Van for letting me use it on the video.

Navigation by Compass

Navigation by Compass

Well eventually the fog rolled in and swallowed my whole world.  I took a hasty compass heading so I could be sure of my return voyage.  Then I set off into the ever thickening fog, listening to the eagles, watching the angle of the waves, and keeping an eye on the compass.  Truth be told, my dead reckoning was slightly off because I forgot to account for that pesky 4 knot breeze pushing my tiny boat off course a bit.

That’s about it for this edition of the Adventure Journal.  Sorry, no whales.  But the moral of the story is you’re never gonna be visited by whales surfing your couch, or surfing the web so I was delighted to spend the morning “Bobbing for Grey Whales”, even if they didn’t pop up for a visit.

Thanks for following along.  Kat

About Jeff Katzer

Welcome friends. I'm a cyclist, hiker, motorbike rider, kayaker, photographer, videographer, ukulele player, snowshoer, XC skier, and BEST of all - a grandpa. Somewhere in that list above you'll find the theme of the Adventure Journal.
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9 Responses to Bobbing For Grey Whales

  1. brickthomas says:

    No whales but I still enjoyed the bobbing around and music. It’s been too long since I’ve been in a kayak. I was also impressed by how clear your voice was. Did you have a mic clipped to your vest or was that the cameras built-in mic? Thanks for sharing.

    • Jeff Katzer says:

      Yeah Brick, that was just the camera(s)’ built in mic. One of the things I finally figured out after a few years of editing video is that I need to remember to speak more slowly, and with some pauses. That sure makes editing and voice-over stuff much easier. Thanks for watching…Oh, and I just noticed that I had not yet clicked your “follow” button. CLICK

  2. I talked to a guy today that was sailing last Thursday and saw 17 whales on the west side of the jetty near the shoreline They were dipping their fins into the mud and munching on stuff

  3. MrsB says:

    >>> still laughing at *I guess I should have been there last Thursday*, cracked me up! [translate: awesomely funny ^_^]. Well, it all sounds VERY exotic to me! The biggest sea things we get to see around here are dolphins and sea lions and even though you didn’t actually get to see any [as clearly you couldn’t be bothered last Thursday] I absolutely agree with your opinion on couchsurfing & netsurfing. It you didn’t already have a van I’d suggest you’d get one.
    until soon [and happy bobbing]

    • Jeff Katzer says:

      Thanks MrsB. We have had whales come right up to the kayaks before. Grey whales right in the same location, and Orcas further down sound at Dyes Inlet. Spectacular is the word that comes to mind.

  4. Friedel says:

    Really enjoyed the video! For a few moments, I was out there with you on the water.

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