After reading in Sean’s blog that the whale count was 100+ on Saturday, March 17, I wanted to share my experiences. It was a beautiful day at the headlands. Overall the weather was perfect for whale watching, a light breeze, and partly cloudy skies. When I saw two blows off South Beach on my way to the docent meeting at Drakes Beach I hoped it was a sign of more to come. By the time I arrived at my first assignment, the whale watching platform, Stephanie, one of the Ranger Naturalists, had already seen 20 whales! During the next 3 hours, we saw at least 30 more whales. Lucky us, Nik, Drew and Marta and their 2 little girls saw an approaching gray whale breach 4 or 5 times. It was so wonderful to see. It made me think that the whale was performing a ballet for us – dancing! Then, before I switched to the elephant seal overlook, I got to see another whale breach a couple of times – thanks to Sean’s sharp eyes.
The elephant seal colony consisted mainly of weaners with a couple of males still hanging out. The beach was so quiet that a few visitors wondered if they were alive. A squeal every once in awhile proved that they were. As we were standing there one of the visitors noticed something in the water swimming toward us. We thought that it was probably a male elephant seal. Then it spouted! Wow – were we, Drew and I, surprised and excited, along with all the visitors! It was a gray whale cruising along the beach. It turned as it approached us and headed toward the fishing dock where we eventually lost sight of it. That was the 1st time that Drew saw a gray whale in Drakes Bay and my 2nd. What fun!
You would think that would be enough for one day, but…from 5:30-7:00 I went to the Sea Lion overlook to see if I would see any more whales. There I had the pleasure of helping a mom and daughter from Utah see their 1st whale. And, boy, did we see whales – at least 20 of them. The lighting was so good and the water surface just right. No sooner had we seen one blow that two more would pop up. We could look right, left and center and we would see blows. The experience was made all the more exciting because of my new friends’ reactions.
It sure was a nice way to spend the day at Point Reyes National Seashore.