the checkraise crew:

john, your captain
minette, your naturalist
dorkass, your ballast

Originally published April 30, 2005

Yesterday was a fun day of whalin', a day that included two beachings (one accidental), bone-jarring four foot waves, the repainting of both sides of my boat, and a boarding by two young men with two big guns. Three, if you count the enormous machine gun mounted on the bow of their Coast Guard boat. I passed my inspection, but that didn't stop a gleeful Dorkass from trying to make a John-skewering anecdote out of it.

"So did he do something wrong?!? " she asked in the same hopeful tone that a child asks "May I have some dessert?" She eagerly had her camera out, hoping to capture for posterity my arrest or, better still, my pistol-whipping. Alas.

Perhaps it was the disappointment, perhaps it was the unremitting waves, but soon her breakfast was adorning the starboard side of my boat. Unfortunately, the waves were coming at us from the same side; with the boat tilted, we were corkscrewing into them. "Tell her to puke off the other side," I snapped, fraught with concern for her comfort.

Oh yeah. And there were whales.

Our best guess is that we observed 1-2 adult and 1 juvenile gray whales as they circled and fed in 50' deep water. We saw several deep dives (which I presume is when their flukes appeared), countless blows, and a lotta barnacles. I got a good look at one's blowhole, and Minette saw a full body roll. The highlight for all was when we lost track of the whales and then an adult surfaced and slowly passed the boat, not 50 feet away. Just exhilarating.