But it shouldn't be too much for Maddy, 3, to handle. After all,
Taylor said she began whale-watching when she was about her daughter's
age. The shine of a whale's skin encrusted with barnacles, the mammal's
slowness, nearness and sheer size -- it's not something she's ever tired
"I tell you, they're just so big," Taylor said. "They look almost
prehistoric. I was amazed that something that big could move as
gracefully as it did."
Taylor's shipmates aboard the Reveille, especially the younger ones,
waited for their glimpse of a whale this week. Young boys in Billabong
sweatshirts leaned over the rail and were told to"please do not hang off
the boat" by Capt. Bill Scott.
Other passengers joined them at the front deck, standing for a large
part of the two-hour trip in hopes of seeing a gray whale. What they did
see were dolphins swimming at the bow and sea lions lounging on a buoy,
but it wasn't too disappointing.
"It's really fun," said Kevin Burzynski, 10. "I like seeing all the
dolphins, the fish in the water. I just like the adventure of looking out
Since whale-watching tours began Dec. 26, Scott and his passengers
have spotted the large aquatic mammals on three separate trips. Boats
take off every day from the Balboa Peninsula for two-hour excursions to
try to catch a glimpse of the great whales migrating from the Arctic
Circle to the warm lagoons of Baja California.
The Nautilus from Newport Landing and the Western Pride from Davey's
Locker also conduct whale trips.
Gray whales migrate more than 5,000 miles one way at about 4 or 5 mph
without feeding, Scott said. They summer in the frigid waters of the
Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas and the Arctic Ocean and spend the
winter in the warm waters of Baja. Whale-watching season ends near Easter
weekend, but only to make room for fishing season.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act requires that all boats stay at least
100 yards away from whales. As sound travels better underwater, Scott
said the mammals can hear the proximity of boats.
The 53-year-old captain knows what he's talking about. Scott is at
home on the bridge of his vessel.