Sunday, March 09, 2008

Gray Whales Do Not Appear, on a Gray Day

The migration is on the move. OrcaNetwork keeps reporting gray whales in Puget Sound, and also reported a lot of whales sighted from shore at Gualala in Northern California. They see at least a few every day at the southern sighting stations (1)(2). So out I went to La Push, and hung out at First Beach for four hours. Saw no blows and no whale bodies, but really I didn't know where to look. Inside the surf line? Outside the surf line? Towards the north end of the beach, or the middle? Mostly I sat on a dune of cobbles and read, and listened to the surf. Every page or so I would look up from the book and look EVERYWHERE for whales. Concentrating on the area outside the surf line, since blows would be easier to see out there if they happened to be there. If they happened to be inside the surf line on a rough foamy day, how would I see them? (Look at this image. It's from the bottom of the Oregon Whale Watching Center's page.)

But it was a beautiful day. Grey sky, grey water with white foam. Waves heaping in. As the tide moved toward high, a couple of surfers in wetsuits paddled out, bobbed around for a while, then came back in.

Some mergansers in Lake Crescent. Some gulls on the beach. A pair of eagles over James Island. No whales.

And no pictures. I brought the camera but had left its battery behind in the charger—probably a measure of how distracted I am, preparing to move into my next digs.

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