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Wheels and Whales in San Diego

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.

Leaky wheel seal getting repaired on a Prevost Bus
Imagine how much Cold Stone ice cream I could have for the price of a lousy wheel seal!

Eight hours and $600 later, all was well. We drove back to our comfortable campsite in Coronado.

Cat and dog on couch inside bus
The ride back to Coronado would have been better if CoCo hadn’t decided to sleep on my couch. The look on my face says it all.

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.

Boat in front of USS Midway
My parents took a whale-watching cruise in San Diego and passed the aircraft carrier USS Midway. This great photo is courtesy of Prayitno.

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.

Onboard a whale-watching boat
It was a near-perfect day for whale-watching in San Diego!

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…

A Whale!

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.

Gray Whale
Gray Whales live up to 70 years and are about 50 feet long. I wish my parents had taken this shot but, alas, they were too busy whale watching to take pictures so this pic is courtesy of Robin Agarwal.

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).

Seafood buffet
I imagine this must be what the Arctic Ocean seems like for Gray Whales: a seafood buffet! Thank you to InterContinental Hong Kong for this delicious pic.

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!

Gray Whale barnacles
Gray Whales can host several hundred pounds of barnacle hitchhikers. Good photo job by Michael R. Perry!

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…

Dog looking out of bus window onto San Diego Bay
I’m going to miss Coronado Island and looking out onto the beautiful San Diego Bay.

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).

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss my next sure-to-be-awesome post!

San Diego Bay Marina
Goodnight San Diego! Great photo by my super hero dad!

Woof Out!

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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).

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