Sea lions, fairy lanterns... and whales! Breaching! And delighted German visitors.

This past Saturday, as I was about to do a public walk, three young German fellows approached and asked where they should go to see whales. I complied, pointing them towards the Sea Lion Cove overlook, but made sure they understood that seeing a whale was very far from a sure thing.  Then I started off on the Cypress Grove Trail, heading up an eager crowd. Amongst them, surprisingly, were the trio of hopeful whale-seekers....had they misunderstood my directions? Had I discouraged them about seeing whales? Well, at least they would see sea lions, fairy lanterns, and our cypresses, with their fascinating epiphytes.

 Within a few minutes we were above Headland Cove, where I scanned unsuccessfully for otters, and equally in vain for harbor seals, though the tide was low enough for them to be at their usual haul-out spot east of the beach. But of course the view alone is more than enough. Then, as I turned to move on, lo, thar she blows! So again we all faced west, expectantly, staring at the spot, focusing our wills on the spouter to kindly resurface. A minute later, finally, a blow...and then one more...and then, omigosh, not far from Seal Lion Rocks, a huge humpback breach. Stunned, I may have been the most excited one in the group. Recovering a bit from the thrill, I looked back down the line of enchanted visitors, and there were our three German friends, so far from home, their hopes fulfilled, beaming with joy.  Rick Pettit, June 21


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