Whales breaching, dolphins leaping had passengers with whom we shared passage on a Dana Point, California Catamaran oohing and awing with excitement recently. The weather was ideal -- just enough sun to warm the not-to-cold sea air that made wearing a light jacket sufficiently comfortable.
Seagulls and pelicans had flown gracefully around the wharf, sometimes swooping down to skim the water's surface as our boat departed the shore at noon. Though weather reports had cautioned those along beaches this was a high tide day with rip tides swimmers would need to avoid, the minimal increase in wave height our boat encountered was of no concern. Ultimately, we went about six miles out to sea on occasional roller coaster Pacific Ocean waves before our return trip to shore. No one became even queasy with the motion.
My lively red-haired soon-to-be four year old grandson was wrapped between his father's legs behind a safety screen in the boat's bow with an unimpeded view of what was for a time only the vast ocean ahead. Suddenly, we were all ecstatic with the sighting of the first grey whale's blowing, followed by a revealing glimpse of the mammal's barnacled back. Beginning with that event we periodically encountered more whales gliding through the water, blowing, tail flipping -- others leaping upward from the ocean to then dive downward back into the dark waters.
At one point, from the boat's interior one of the mates retrieved a pole on the end of which a small GoPro camera was attached. He rushed to next to where I was sitting, then lowered the pole's camera end into the water boat side to capture a view of what surface-water appearance suggested was a whale swimming underneath closely by the boat, but in the opposite direction passing by us. Later the mate launched a drone from the top of the ship to hover over ocean areas where whales were thought to be underwater, but no noticeable creature reaction was elicited.
Unexpectedly, a dolphin fin was spotted ahead at one o'clock slicing through the ocean -- then another was seen elsewhere in an arching leap above the surface in a dive back into the water. A shout alerted all to yet another dolphin at ten o'clock, then one seen at 2 o'clock as we aided others sighting by using the clock technique for position identification.
Amazingly, we soon began to see dolphins in all directions around us -- scattered all over the ocean -- swimming, jumping, singly and in seemingly coordinated pairs -- groups of three and four flying briefly through the air like synchronized swimmers. These ocean entertainers provided what seemed like a grand finale to our two hour voyage before we finally turned back toward shore leaving them all behind.
Dinosaur figures have been replaced in the bathtub by small replicates of whales and dolphins by my grandson -- joining the more sublime, such as sharks, starfish, seahorses, jellyfish -- his father tells me now that they've returned home.