January 15th, 2011
Friday was forestcats birthday, and I took the day off work, as I try to do usually. I had asked her what she wanted to do, and at first it looked like we might go to Disneyland, but she got a much better idea last week.
So we were up early, and braved the mess that is the traffic in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area.
We worked our way south through Orange County to the harbor at Dana Point. I've never been down there before, and neither had my spouse. We found ourselves at Captain Dave's Dolphin Safari, where we and another twenty or so adventurers boarded a catamaran, and headed out to sea. I've done whale watching before, usually on converted fishing boats, but this catamaran allowed us to be much lower in the water, and therefore closer to the creatures.
We started out with seeing sea lions sunning themselves on the rocks of the breakwater; then out at sea we met up with two gray whales who swam around us in a circle, apparently scoping us out. We got several tail waves during that portion.
Then, much farther out at sea, we came upon places of feeding frenzies. Hundreds of birds of several species flew about, dove, and paddled in the sea, and the water was churning where some thousand dolphins were hunting sardines. The dolphins popped up again and again, and the area was boiling over with them. It was amazing. The crew brought us to two or three such areas; heck, even the sea lions were getting involved.
Finally, we rode back into port. Quite an experience.
At the far end of the harbor, there was a brig, a two-masted sailing ship, tied up, and so we walked over there to discover a museum called the Ocean Institute. Apparently, they are open to the public only on weekends, but the brig had several busloads of kids on field trips, and we watched them heaving on lines, trimming the sails and raising barrels of rum. Cool.
From there, we drove to the Block in Orange, and ate at Cafe Tu Tu Tango, a restaurant (chain) that we've enjoyed before, and the food was once again very good. We tried to do some shopping at the Block, but found nothing we liked.
We then drove to Brea Mall, and our shopping needs were met.
Home, then, for a change of clothes and a little relaxation. forestcats uploaded her camera work (video and photos) to her Facebook page. We decided that our appetites were regenerated, and so went out to The Boiler, where we were disappointed to find that they were closed for maintenance on the boiler system, and would reopen in February. So then it was Wabi Sabi, where they've regained their A rating from the County. The food was good.
To finish off the evening, forestcats stated that she wanted to watch The Incredibles, so I pulled out the DVD, and put it on for her. She promptly fell asleep, and who could blame her? I woke her up for her favorite line in the film. "No capes!"
And so went my beloved's birthday!
IMO, whale watching is better than Disneyland, any day! It sounds like she had an awesome day! I've never been whale watching from a catamaran, only from fishing boats, or the shore. We'll have to try a catamaran, sometime!
If you ever get a chance to swim with dolphins, take it.
Been there, done that. It was very cool!
I'm sorry I missed her birthday.
Your day sounds just like something Stan and I would
have loved to do.
Of course you would have. What's not to like?
Happy Birthday to your lovely wife and happy to hear you both had a great time. The area where the two-masted sailing ship is tied off at becomes the focal piece of The Tall Ships Festival the Ocean Institute puts on every year. Usually happens in September IIRC.
We should keep watch out for that; I bet it's fun.
Yes, September. I run a medieval encampment at the Tall Ships Festival every year. It's a ton of fun. They usually have six or eight of the tall ships in port that weekend.
It is. Up to 50,000 people visit over the weekend I hear, but it covers most of the available area outside the OI and there are shuttles to better parking and what not. It's worth a visit and the cost to tour the ships and the OI is pretty low, if I remember correctly.
Naturally, for what we do, we're not in the OI, we're out on the lawn just above Baby Beach. (Pretty nice, only weekend a year that you can camp in that park and I get a reserved space a sidewalk's width from the beach.)
Actually, we're on the grass and I spread some camping rugs, so the sand is only minimally a problem.
Well, scratch that worry.