Monday, January 21, 2019

The After Action Report

December 24: The trail was over, but we still had to get back home. We slept in late--there was little reason not to!--and our boat wasn't scheduled to leave Two Harbors until something like noon so we had hours to kill.

We split up--I walked to the far harbor to watch (and attempt to film) pelicans diving into the water and the bison that were still in the nearby meadow while Courtney walked backwards on the Trans-Catalina Trail to see some of the viewpoints along the shore. She wasn't doing the whole loop since she didn't have the time or inclination for that, but there were a lot viewpoints to admire.

We got back together about an hour before our boat was scheduled to return and compared notes, twiddled our thumbs, then eventually boarded our boat back to the mainland.

Courtney, I'm happy to report, didn't get motion sickness this time around. I'm not sure what was different this time around--I didn't think the ship was any less bouncy than the ride out, which was pretty gentle in the first place, but yea for her! =)

Goodbye, Catalina!

The real excitement started when Courtney shouted about seeing a bunch of dolphins ahead in the water. I was reading my Kindle and obvious but immediately looked up and started searching for dolphins... then I saw them!

And then I saw more of them. And more.... There were hundreds! Way too many count! Absolutely magical! I whipped out the fancy camera with the zoom lens feeling like an idiot for not being ready, but how was I to know we'd see something like that? The ship didn't stop or slow down and the dolphins were quickly fading into the distance behind us.

But when the next group of dolphins arrived--and there was another group!--I was ready. But I couldn't really get very good photos of them. They were small targets that would jump out of the water for a fraction of a second. I didn't have time to zoom into them for a good photo and wound up just shooting lots and lots of photos hoping I'd get lucky and catch something. At one point, we saw a few dolphins swim just beneath the surface of the water next to the boat--our best view of them by far even if they were under the surface. But even that only lasted for but a second before the boat passed them by and they were off in the distance.

Then, at one point, I looked back behind the ship and saw--I swear it must have been thousands of dolphins. The mass of jumping dolphins stretched seemingly in a line for a mile behind our boat. Where did they all come from? When the boat went through that area, we saw a few dolphins, but it didn't seem like such a massive group! I gasp and pointed it out to Courtney who was looking ahead at the time, but before Courtney turned around, the group submerged under the surface and Courtney accused me of making it up. "I didn't! I swear!"

It was truly one of the best highlights of the trip.

This was the best photo I got of one of the jumping dolphins. So cool!

And moral to this story is.... if you're taking a boat to Catalina, stop reading your stupid Kindle and watch out for dolphins! =)

We finally made it back to the mainland, piled into Courtney's car and started the long drive back. Along the way, we stopped in Camarillo to visit our dad on Christmas Eve where we spent a few hours. It was another little family reunion as another one of my sisters was in town as well, along with my one and nephew who is absolutely adorable. But he's only a year old, so I still expect he'll grow out of it. ;o)

But the trail and the trip was over. It was an awesome trip. *nodding*

Notice the sea lions on the buoy as we neared the mainland?

One of the other passengers on the boat told us this ship is used to actually catch discarded rockets in mid-ocean. There had been rocket launches scheduled from Vandenberg AFB earlier in the week that had been postponed at the last minute. We were hoping to see the rocket launch from Catalina--it should be visible if the weather was clear--but the launch had been delayed until a week after we left. Perhaps it had something to do with that? The passenger also said it was very unusual to see the giant net open because it's usually not.
USS Iowa
About to dock in San Pedro
I noticed this bee on the seat next to me as I stood up to disembark. Did it follow us all the way from Catalina?! It was also officially the last photo I took from this trip. *nodding*

1 comment:

Michael said...

Wow! Over before it began. And no guest posts from Courtney. I wanted to hear first hand of feet falling off or hear how much of a slave driver Ryan is for making her go so far. Oh well. Next trip.