Friday, April 28, 2017

Northbound grey whales delight during day on the water

Dolphins are almost always a companion to the San Diego Whale Watch boats. Here, they followed us for a half hour.


The thrill of seeing a cow and calf was a highlight of our trip this week.


WE CAUGHT the southbound grey whales a few months ago -- thrilled to witness their migration to give birth and fatten up their calves before heading back to their home turn in the colder Alaskan waters.
Satisfied customers leave the boat after a fun outing.
This week, we caught the northbound migration, and it was thrilling to see a cow and her young .
Each year, more than 20,000 gray whales make an impressive 10,000 mile round-trip journey from Alaskan waters to the lagoons of Baja California, where the females give birth to their calves. We lucky San Diegans may watch the journey close-up, so this time of year, look for us on the water -- on the several delightful operations out of San Diego.  Sailor Keller has even piloted our own craft. But it's more fun for him to let someone else do the driving so he can take photos and enjoy the sea life.

 the grey whales twice -- coming and going -- because after spending time in warm Baja California waters so their young can grow strong, they make the journey north again later in spring. This remarkable trip represents the longest known distance any mammal migrates on an annual basis and for this Montana girl and my San Diego born partner, it is an extraordinary spectacle.
SD Whale Watch posts its daily sightings for visitors.
This year, we've been out a half-dozen times, exploring the 70 miles of coastline in the migration path.  We've seen whales every time -- now nearly 30 outings in the near decade I've been a grateful part-timer. San Diego Whale Watch offers a stellar whale watching experience here in Southern California. The cordial and experienced crew know exactly how to track down and share the bounty of whales and dolphins off our beautiful coast.
The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay casts a pretty reflection among the boats
as we set off from San Diego Whale Watch landing.
This week, we treated my visiting Montana brother to a trip on the Ohana, the Whale Watch's smaller boat while the larger Privateer is having work. San Diego Whale Watch offers whale watching year round, while the competition closes its schedule down after the bulk of the whales have come and gone. But as our naturalist Dani said, "There are always whales out there. We just have to find them."
We were lucky this week -- sighting a grey whale cow and calf heading back north. The boat is respectful of the mother's maternal instincts to protect her baby, so a safe distance of a minimum 100 yards was kept as we viewed.
The little snack bar makes a mean cuppa, and we had a spectacular day. As an incentive, if you don’t see a whale or a dolphin on your trip, you can join San Diego Whale Watch free on another tour. We've never had to collect that perk!

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Brilliant acting by a versatile quartet of gentlemen and fine direction
by David Ellenstein make "Travels with My Aunt" a theater lover's must.


A QUARTET of capable actors dons four jaunty bowler hats to take us on a lively and often touching journey in NorthCoast Repertory Theatre's "Travels with My Aunt."
Four talented actors perform 20-plus roles in North Coast
Repertory Theatre's production  of "Travels with my Aunt,"
extended through May 14. It features, from left, Benjamin Cole,
David McBean, James Saba, Richard Baird
. Photo by Aaron Rumley
Under the gifted direction of the theater's artistic director David Ellenstein, an engaging story unfolds. We travel the world with Aunt Augusta as she lures her stodgy nephew out of his staid ways and onto a path peopled with wonderful characters.

   THE FOUR actors are a delight -- changing roles, mannerisms and accents to interpret more than a dozen characters of both genders -- from a larger than life Caribbean man servant to a London cabbie, an aging lothario and long ago would-be lover.
THE JOURNEY is a global one -- from Turkey to South America.  The experience is an example of the hypnotic quality of fine theater, for the best productions take us out of ourselves, up up and away.  So it is with "Travels....."
Ellenstein's deft touches and adroit sensibilities bring the nimble actors' characters to life in delightful and sometimes surprising fashion. Without a single costume change, the four transform into more than 20 characters. We revel in rich language and perfectly delivered dialects as we explore each complex relationship -- auntie and nephew and a parade of eccentrics they encounter.
We sat with many Aunt Augustas at our matinee --  enhancing our viewing of a precisely rendered production.
Northcoast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, north of San Diego,
offers a pleasant afternoon  or evening of top quality theater.


THERE ARE NO costume changes and no fancy set. Instead, artfully rendered photos stage right and left suggest changes of season, city and venue.
The success of any production relies on a collaboration of actors, director and production crew.
 "Travels with My Aunt" is pure pleasure, a light-hearted romp which playwright Graham Greene would surely acknowledge with a tip of his bowler.

Cesar Manrique was a major force in Lanzarote's development.

UP NEXT:   The island of Lanzarote is a delight largely because of the efforts and vision of Cesar Manrique, who shaped  innovative planning regulations on this most unique of the Canary Islands. When Manrique recognized its tourist potential and lobbied to encourage eco-friendly tourism and artfully designed buildings, he changed the island's course: no high rise hotels and beautiful small hotels in keeping with the use of traditional colors and imaginative design. Read about this inspired -- and inspiring -- man, next at whereiscookie. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each Friday for a novel approach to the arts and nature driven travel.


  1. Baltimore Bay WatchersApril 29, 2017 at 12:50 PM

    Saw "Travels" last night. Loved it. Utterly engaging as you so aptly say. Whales on tap Tuesday with friends here from Ohio. Keep these pointers coming. Great photos, too. Fantastic dolphins.

  2. Jersey Jet-settersApril 29, 2017 at 1:05 PM

    So much fun to be on the whale watching boat with Cookie and Keller. We met at check-in and their commentary and knowledge enriched our stay. Also took their recommendation for "Travels...." and thoroughly enjoyed. Our good fortune to meet you two charming ambassadors of your lovely corner of the world.