Whales! Oh My God, they’re every where. All up and down the coast. They’re out at sea, they’re in close. My son saw them at Princeton Harbor Jetty in the surf zone. That’s almost on shore.
Yesterday the surf were gloriously small with a fresh offshore breeze that cleaned up the faces of the waves and brought smiles to the surfers. It was overcast, and faintly smelled of fish that brought in the birds, that brought in the whales.
There were Humpback blows all over the bay. Several at a time. And humps showed by the minute, sometimes side by side. Paddle boarders headed out for a closer look. A colleague, Denise Crawford, was shooting with a 600mm telephoto lens right next to me and she had it dialed in. Check out this image of a close encounters of the Humpback kind.
With Donna’s new VESL SUP from Gordie at Primitive Surf and Sup lashed to the roof we stopped by Covewater Paddle Surf to check out a rental board for me. They had a nice Paddle Surf Hawaii 10-6 that I tried for the afternoon.
We drove straight to New Brighton. It was still, not a breath of wind and no waves. Not a wrinkle graced the surface. A torrent of birds flew in all directions. The sky held smoke from distant fires and blurred the horizon so we paddled toward the pier, a good mile away. Below there were thousands of anchovies. Slippery little slivers of life, dozens of whom skittered across the surface, made me wonder what predator lurked below.
There were two towhead surfers, maybe 10 or 11 years old, grooving on their short boards with fishing rods propped against gear boxes strapped to the front of their boards. One of them signaled it was time to move. The other pulled out a stringer of two or three nice little fish and plopped them into his box, then they paddled out toward the kelp bed. The shore was painted with bright-colored umbrellas against the pastels of Capitola’s coastal architecture. Beach bodies were wall to wall making the sound of late summer pleasure; splashing in the surf, sipping drinks, walking hand in hand.
We paddled past the jetty toward the pier where a band playing guitars and drums included a female singer who sang a tune that seemed to blend with the salt and cool water. We passed under the pier, gliding over the deep green water toward the tall ochre cliffs as a lone swimmer passed behind us swimming the length of the pier. We turned around and headed toward the kelp.