Sunday, January 13, 2013

Whale watching, old friends and Australians

If I had a bucket list, whale watching would be on it.  And lucky me, I live in San Diego one of the best places to spy gray whales during their annual migration from Alaska to Baja California. The migration is from Mid-December to February and every winter I think this is the year to go whale watching and every year something gets in the way. (Last year I even bought tickets.) I thought the stars had aligned when our friends the Hulls came into town last Friday. They had only one afternoon to spend with us before they drove back to their home in Oregon. I  had considered whale watching when planning the day's activities but didn't think they'd arrive it in time to catch the afternoon tour. But they showed up an hour early and what do you know?  They have always wanted to go whale watching too! So we put on sunblock, packed a picnic lunch, and herded our two families (plus an Australian) in minivans. Unfortunately, due to construction, poor directions and my own inexplicable failure to look at the map on my phone, we missed the boat. Even after a dramatic run through the city which made me feel like I was in the final chase scene of a movie--except in the movie they'd catch the boat. We missed it by two minutes. A little dejected we ate our picnic and decided to see if we could see whales from Cabrillo National Monument.

Becky, Brandan, Abe, Gibson, Helen and Sophie on the stairs in the light house.

I've always heard you can see whales from Cabrillo National Monument. There's a whale watching plaza overlooking the Pacific and some whale bones. But we did not see any whales, just a lot of sun glare off the ocean and a pretty nifty light house. The Hulls were good sports about the change of plans and that Cabrillo National Monument  is one of the windiest spots on earth.  That night we had dinner and games and stayed up way too late catching up. Becky has been a dear friend since my Freshman year in college. We have a lot of shared history including backpacking across Europe together. It was so good of them to make the extra drive to come see us.

The next day we tried whale watching again. This time with just Lizzy, Ashleigh (our Australian visitor) and Tiana (another Australian friend). Somehow we found ourselves running to catch this boat too but we made it just in time. We were the last people on the boat. I was so excited, I worried that maybe I was too excited and setting myself up for disappointment. But nope--it was all I hoped and even more. In fact it  was like a heartwarming wild life movie: a mother whale searching for her baby; finally the two were reunited and suddenly dozens of dolphins appear gleaming in the sunlight,  leaping over mother and baby. If I'd seen it in a movie I would have thought they were laying it on a bit thick.

The girls with the San Diego skyline, a fluke, behind that finger is a a whale breaching.
A little more about our Australian friend. Through school Lizzy had the chance to host an Australian for 12 days. Ashleigh is 15 and from a suburb outside of Sydney. We loved having her stay with us.  She was so easygoing and helpful. She waited patiently while Lizzy practiced, did homework or ran.  John and Will loved having a psuedo-older sister to play endless games with them. Ashleigh was ready to try anything. Lizzy introduced her to Mexican food, Boba, Mormon dances and early morning seminary.

Ashleigh and Lizzy

 Ashleigh left this morning and we already miss her. She did leave us with a few more fun Aussie words.
1. Lippy
2. Dag
3. Spunk
4. Bikkie
5. Chewie

Feel free to guess the meaning of these words. I'll give the answers in a couple weeks when I blog again. G'day!

1 comment:

Ken said...

Hello Mitchell Family!
Great whale tail photo! Hopefully, Lizzy will visit Ashleigh in Sydney someday. Thanks for sharing!
With love,
Grandpa Ken