Ramblin’ Road: Wet wildlife drives new family tradition

This past Sunday we took a whale watching cruise in San Diego. It is the second cruise my daughter and I have taken and the second time we didn’t see any whales. She and I think we are doing something wrong.

But it was a fun trip regardless. It was her sons’ first trip. And though there were no whales, we saw sea lions, dolphins (common and Pacific White-Sided) and had the rare opportunity to see a mola mola (ocean sunfish) jump out of the water.

I’m always quite amazed by the dolphins. They often put on shows to the delight of the passengers. As our guide put it, “They are traveling west as they are feeding, but if they spot us, they will show off for us just a little.” Both pods we saw did not disappoint.

I think, however, quite possibly the most fun part was listening to the inquisitive 7-year-olds pepper their mother with questions:  Why is the ocean bumpy? Why do we go slow before we get to the ocean? Is it always windy? How do you know where the ocean ends and the sky begins? Can you drive the boat?

I suspect the last question came because our daughter was in the Navy (long before they were born). They must have heard the two of us talking while we were waiting in line (social distancing, of course). “You drive a boat and steer a ship. I got to steer the ship,” she said. (She also, on another occasion told me it was pure hell when one became seasick. It’s not an excuse to leave your post).

Yesterday as we were talking I said to her “I bet you didn’t steer out of port, did you?”

“Nooooo,” she said. “They had special people for that… Thank God.”

It was a good day.

Even King enjoyed the trip. Thanks to better living through chemicals he was able to enjoy the two-hour tour without getting sick. We ventured out about nine miles, or so the tour guide said. We even stopped to retrieve a Mylar balloon spotted floating on the water.

Phyllis McCrossin

“We always stop to retrieve these when we find them,” she said. “One trip we found about 20 balloons.” It was explained the paint eventually fades from the balloon, leaving a clear jelly-like substance behind. Marine animals who feed on jellyfish can’t distinguish the difference and ingest the balloons.

Although I tried to get some shots of the sea life we saw, it was fairly evident I should have taken my “big girl camera” with me.  As it was I have lots of out of focus shots of the ocean taken with my cell phone.  Lesson learned. Since the boys have decided they want to make the whale watching trip a spring break tradition, I will have the opportunity to try again next year.

Besides the obvious educational aspects of our trip, I observed other things as well.  We don’t often venture out into public other than the gas station and an occasional trip to the grocery store. I do pay attention to people and I have to admit, here in California people DO wear masks in public.  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE wears a mask.   I have yet to see people in public without a mask.

If I were to believe the comments made on Facebook posts, apparently that is not the case in other states. I guess we will find out for ourselves on our way home.

And, speaking of heading home, (we leave in three days) when we get home King and I already have our first COVID vaccine scheduled.  As I write this our daughter is headed to the VA to get her first vaccine.

Believe in the science or believe in conspiracy theories. We choose science.

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