Our last week in San Diego was full of activity, or maybe it just seemed that way to me!
The Leaky Wheel Gets…
We started the week by traveling about 30 miles east of San Diego to a bus chassis repair shop in Alpine, CA. One of the seals on our rear passenger side was leaking.
Eight hours and $600 later, all was well. We drove back to our comfortable campsite in Coronado.
Whale Watching in San Diego
The day after we got a new wheel seal, my parents celebrated by driving over the Coronado bridge into San Diego to go on a whale-watching cruise.
My mom was a little concerned when they walked onto the boat, which was a good-sized boat set up for dinner cruises, and there were barf bags on every table. Luckily, they chose a day that was nice and sunny with calm seas.
It was a smooth ride and no one used the barf bags. Whew. The ride lasted four hours and they didn’t see anything but lazy sea lions…
Until… they were almost back to port and a Gray Whale came about 30 yards from the boat! My parents were so excited to see the whale, which the boat captain said was probably a teenager. He (the whale, not the boat captain) came up alongside the boat, exhaled (spouting water) and flipped his tail! He hung out alongside the boat for a good 10 minutes before he swam out into the ocean.
The whale was close enough my parents could see the barnacles living on the whale. I’ll talk more about barnacles in a minute. For now, here’s the scoop on Gray Whales.
If Brigitte Were a Whale… She’d be Small
When my parents told me about whales, I took a good, hard look at Brigitte, our bus. She is 45 feet long. A Gray Whale is about 50 feet long. Brigitte weighs 30 tons. A Gray Whale weighs about 40 tons. Hmmm… that gives me a good perspective about the size of a Gray Whale!
I also learned that Gray Whales live almost 70 years and they make the longest migration of any mammal on earth. Every year of their lives they make a 10,000 mile roundtrip from lagoons in Mexico to the Arctic near Russia. While in the Arctic, they eat and eat and eat. They feast on small fish and crustaceans (like lobsters and shrimp).
After their bellies are aching from the fish and crustacean buffet, they begin their migration south to breed. Along the way, they usually lose about 30 percent of their body weight because they concentrate solely on getting to the big whale party in Mexico. Once in Mexico, they drink margaritas and make baby whales. Around October, they begin their migration back to the Arctic. They frolic and enjoy watching tourists in California from October until early April. And then they head to the smorgasboard known as the Arctic Ocean.
Barnacles are Freeloaders
The white spots my parents saw on the whale were really hard-shelled living creatures called barnacles. Barnacles attach themselves to whales and ride the whale for as long as they can – usually their whole lives!
They attach themselves to the whale and simply suck in nutrients from the water as the whale moves along. They don’t harm the whale, except they do get to be pretty heavy as more barnacles join the free-whale-host party: usually several hundred pounds of barnacles reside on a single Gray Whale.
Now you know as much about Gray Whales as a dog knows!
So Long San Diego…
We’re now on our way to Tucson, AZ where we will close on our new vacation rental house (pictures coming soon to a blog near you).
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And, oh by the way, I wrote this blog of my own free will (CoCo did not make me do it).