Photo Courtesy of: Go Pro

So yesterday Brandi Baksic, Steve Adler, and myself did about a 17 mile paddle.  We started at the Corona Del Mar Jetty and finished at baby beach in Dana Point Harbor.  The wind was on it big time.  The wind and swell direction was perfect if we were coming from Catalina.  It was a bit side wind for us heading south.  The conditions were really tough, but perfect for training.   I paddled my left side pretty much the entire paddle.  It really sucks when it’s like that, but last year we had south wind for the Catalina to Dana Point relay, and yesterdays conditions were equivalent. We were able to get a few runners, that’s where you can actually ride the swells for a little ways. However after each runner then you had to redirect and paddle back out away from land.  So there was a lot of zig zagging.  On paper the paddle was about 17 mile, but i’d be very curious to see what it was if i had a GPS on me.

As i got towards south Laguna I was pretty much on my own, Brandi and Steve had blazed ahead and our escort boat was off chasing seals.  That’s when i had one of the most amazing moments I’ve ever had in the ocean my entire life!  A grey whale popped up about 50 yards away from me.  My heart was pounding and i felt like i was dreaming!  I have never been that close to a whale other than being in a boat.  On a Stand Up Paddle board i felt so insignificant and so small near that massive beast!  He came up three times, the first time he came up the sound of his blow hole just about gave me a heart attack as i was totally caught off guard.  My waterproof iPod case broke yesterday so i had to do that entire paddle with no music!  It was torture!  However, if i had my music on i don’t think i would have has such a pure experience with these whales.  After surfacing three times the first whale brought his tail up out of the water for a deep dive and that was the last of him.  I stood there in awe.  Then i gathered myself and kept paddling with my eyes on the horizon anticipating if I’d see another one.  I was anxious for the boat to get back so i could tell them about the whale and it just gets a bit lonely out there on my own.  Then far in the distance i saw a spout of water shooting into the air!  It was another whale!  The boat was heading back to me so i started waving my paddle so that they would hurry up.  The whale was pretty far from me but headed right towards me.  Then i saw his tail go up which pretty much meant he was going down.  The boys got back to me just after i saw the whale dive deep but i was still hoping we’d see him again.  That was it for the whales though.  I guess God just wanted me to have that experience on my own!  Funny thing is neither Brandi or Steve saw any whales yesterday.  I was the only one.  It was such an amazing experience!  It made the hard paddle all worth it!