Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A whale of a tale

I mentioned in my weekend update that S and I had gone to Ft. Funston. Well, before we went walking there, we stopped at an overlook for Thornton Beach just south of the fort. It used to be that you could get down to the beach via an access road; however, there had been a landslide in 1986 that took out a huge section of the road. You could still see the road leading away from the slide towards the beach.

As we were looking out into the waves, S exclaimed, "There's something swimming out there!" He pointed, but whatever it was was faster than my eyes and I missed it. But it, they rather, kept appearing. It's hard to tell distances in the ocean, but they were close enough in to be seen by the naked eye. We couldn't figure out what they were, however. They weren't close enough to identify.

S speculated whales, but it seemed to early for migrating whales. Seals were too small. Sea lions are mating right now, so only an act of the gods would get them off the beaches in such numbers. I fantasized that they might be dolphins.

Then, last night, I heard a news report that a pod of orcas (misnamed Killer Whales) has been seen off the shore of Half Moon Bay which is just south of where we were. It would fit with the dark flukes that we would see. It seems that the orcas are hunting salmon. They normally live north at this time of the year, feasting off the Klamath river salmon. But the Klamath river salmon are no more (at least at the moment, they have hopes of encouraging a come-back). It was a rather sudden change in the ecosystem brought on by a non-native parasite.

So the orcas are south, eating our salmon. And I think that's what we saw on Friday.

Isn't that the coolest!


hammer said...

It's a good thing they're not killers! Was the ocean cold to swim in?

spinsterwitch said...

Oh, there was no swimming for the humans. Especially at this time of year.

If you go into the water around here, you'll want to be wearing a wet suit. It never gets as warm as down south.

Literary Hoax said...

Half Moon Bay sounds like a fairytale destination. What fun to see real life whales in the area!

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aravis said...

One of my aunts used to live on a houseboat in Half Moon Bay. She's in Redding now though.

How cool that must have been to see the orcas!

Hyde said...

The ocean is beautiful. This post made me smile.