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Humpback Whales in Pacifica

August 14, 2016

One of the delights of living where we do is being so close to wildlife. I don’t mean just the raccoons or the hawks – but actual whales! I’d been seeing Youtube video of humpback whales in Pacifica, barely 15 minutes south of us.

whale spout_4867

So I went out to Pacifica Pier around 4 p.m. on a sunny Saturday afternoon,  hoping that I’d maybe see a whale. I was disappointed to find access is truncated – the pier is shaped like a shallow L, but the short arm was closed off after a big storm damaged the parapet. (In the picture below, you can see the concrete slab of the wall has been pushed in by the waves. I wish they’d repair it!)

damaged pier 4784

In the fine weather, the Pier was crowded.  Lots of people were fishing, lots of others walking around. My hopes rose when I saw a couple of people armed with cameras with lenses as long as my forearm… maybe they were seeing whales? I only had my iPhone camera, but thought maybe I’d get some distant sightings.

I didn’t have to wait long. Almost immediately, I could see the puffs of whale-spouts in the distance, north of the pier.

whale spout of Pacifica Pier 4782

Humpback whale spout off Pacifica Pier

Soon I could even see the whales when they surfaced. Flocks of birds surrounded them. As they fed, the fish that escaped them fed the gulls and other sea-birds. After I’d been there an hour or so, I wanted to leave. Except, I couldn’t. Every time I started to leave, more whales swam by.

fishing poles and whale spouts Pacifica CA 4819

Finally, one came in so close, it was inside the surf line. Someone next to me was explaining to a friend that it was likely a calf, and the shallow water was easier to breathe in. It was almost alongside the pier. After a minute or two, it turned around and swam back out.

humpback whale pacifica 4846

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Captain Ahab permalink
    September 29, 2016 8:40 am

    Whales don’t breathe water.

    [ForestKnolls: Good point. Maybe shallow water makes it easier for the young whale to stay near the surface. Or maybe the man was mistaken.]

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