Nature: whale watching

Self-tutoring about travel activities: the tutor makes some observations about whale watching.

Where I live, whales are known to be about: I hear about whale watching tours, etc. I’ve never been on one. However, a couple of years back, I witnessed some orcas traveling by the waterfront.

For around ten days I’ve been on an Alaskan cruise. Whale watching has been an available activity, especially in certain locales. I’m not typically a person who indulges in tourist activities, but even I was tempted into whale-seeking.

I didn’t leave the ship; rather, with a sudoku puzzle, I sat with at a table whence I had a clear view of the sea. I’m not fast at sudoku, so my strategy was to struggle with the puzzle, but then stand up from time to time to check the seascape for a whale. Believe it or not, the strategy worked.

To begin with, I saw some seals, otters, and perhaps sea lions. The otters and seals were easy to spot at the surface. Once or twice I could see shapes moving by under the water that refused to break out. I suspected they might be sea lions.

The first sign of a whale I saw was a spout of spray shooting from the surface. I came to realize that’s almost always what you see first: often a whale barely breaks the surface past the point of breathing. Other people were also in the observation room with me: sometimes they’d tip me off that a whale was present, but sometimes I’d notice it first.

The best sighting I had started with a close spout, followed by several more, but then the dark back of the whale breached the surface. About half a minute later, a second one presented itself ahead of the first. These whales, I’d say, were the biggest and also the closest I saw.

I never saw a whale without seeing a spout of spray first. My novice recommendation is to look for the spray; find it, and you’ve likely found a whale. With some, that’s all you’ll ever see.

Perhaps I will try to discover which species of whales I might have observed that day.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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