Whalerider

Point Pinos, Monterey

Author: John Kern

It was a gorgeous day with no wind and blue skies. Seas were about 9 feet but with fairly long periods. Paddling was comfortable and the company was first rate. We were on the water at 10:43 AM. We landed again four hours and 15 minutes later. According to Mark and his GPS receiver we had paddled 11.5 miles.

The GPS track shows a sudden change in direction toward the Southwest about three miles from Point Pinos. I think this is where we saw the first set of spouts. There were many blows and they seemed to be loitering in the area, which inspired some of us to paddle in their direction. Paddlers in the lead got some nice looks at bodies and flukes.

Carol seemed to have the sharpest eyes in the group, spotting a Mola mola at the surface.

The pod (of paddlers, that is) gathered up. After some chatter, eating and mugging for my camera, the group broke up again and began to mosey. I believe I was moseying West when I heard that sound. A whale exhaled near me but I couldn’t see it. A second breath indicated another whale. Soon the cry went up about spouts. A large swell moved under the group revealing the sight of Melissa looking at 30 tons of mammal from about 30 feet away. Maybe she didn’t see all 30 tons of the animal but she did get a good look at the heads and bodies of both animals. They had appeared without warning, headed right into our midst. They showed themselves a couple more times and disappeared. Soon another group showed up. Near Hans and Jim a grey, mottled back appeared. A wave surged me toward the spot where the whales had just been before they submerged.

Once again a Whalerider paddle was successful in finding actual whales and getting some very good views. See the trip report archives for trip reports from previous Whalerider paddles. Hans and John initiated the Whalerider paddles in 2004, inspired by a presentation at a WSK meeting. They mapped the theoretical whale freeway, chose a point of land in the vicinity and announced a paddle for the weekend closest to the maximum Southbound migration for the Gray Whale. Considering we can’t predict the weather nor the state of the sea, Whalerider paddles have been a success more often than not.