This is the second in a series of stories by Eco Adventurer Meade Fischer, author of Cosmic Coastal Chronicles, about Kayaking around the California Central Coast.

Whale watching in Monterey Bay

      Kayak Stories by Meade Fischer


One early December morning two or three years ago, the rains came

and went and came again, and so it also was with the wind. I loaded my

surfboard and my kayak on the car and headed toward Monterey.

At Marina, there was a howling on shore wind, but by Monterey it had subsided to a whisper.

The bay off Monterey and Pacific Grove was remarkably calm, given the intermittent rain storms. I pulled up at Lover's Point and put my kayakin the water under a spritzing rain.

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My goal was to whale watch, as they were running the coast that time of year. To that end, I angled out from the shore and out toward the open waters beyond the point. About a mile out the rain stopped, and a soft, golden light flooded in as the window shades of cloud rolled up a little. The hills and mountains that ring Monterey Bay were lit from a low angle, causing a partial backlight and deep contrasts between ridges and valleys. The clouds rose slowly, like sticky taffy mist being pulled by unseen fingers. The land features were so clear as to totally confound the senses of distance and depth. I wondered then what some whale would think if it suddenly rose up and looked landward. Fremont Peak looked like a massive ragged tooth snapping at the glowing sky.


I paddled out into an almost smooth, gun barrel colored sea. As I passed boats, I asked the boaters if they'd seen whales. I kept moving west by north until I was even with Point Pinos and about a mile and a half out. There on the edge of Monterey Bay the sea became a bit choppy. That close to the water, and with added chop, it was hard to see features at water level, such as whales, which are about the color of the winter ocean. I pulled closer in to talk to some scuba divers in kayaks, and then I pulled out again, angling back along the wall of the submerged canyon. The buildings along the shore were doll houses, and there was a quiet and peace in the empty spaces around me. Little sea birds floated around me, and Ilooked out in all directions to a view unobstructed.

Suddenly I heard the sound of water being blown out under pressure, and I turned just in time to see a whale's tail wave gracefully in the air before disappearing with a splash under the water. Then I headed back toward shore, warmed by the feeling that I'd gotten close to something real and vital, and that I was more than some distant observer.

From Shattering the Crystal Face of God Copyright March 2000 by Meade Fischer

Excerpts from Meade Fisher's Cosmic Coastal Chronicles
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