Whale Watching - Thar She Blows!

Pacific Coast Whales

What can you expect to see when you go whale watching on the Pacific Coast of North America?  There are so many beautiful and incredible whales here.  I love to watch them, to listen to them and to recreate them as small sculptures that are worn and enjoyed as meaningful jewelry by others who love whales. See all our whales at All Animal Jewelry.


 We have a special winter program for watching Pacific Coast Whales on the central Oregon Coast.Volunteers staff various vantage points from Cape Perpetua, south of Yachats, to Lincoln City.  With the aid of binoculars, help visitors locate and identify whales.  There is a resident pod of gray whales that stay in the Depoe Bay area all the year round. 

  There is also an excellent Whale Watching Center and museum in Depoe Bay located on the north side of the Depoe Bay channel.  Depoe Bay, if you didn't already know, is the World's Smallest Navigable Harbor as listed in Ripley's Believe It or Not!  Expect to see Humpback Whales, Gray Whales, Fin Whales, Minke Whales, Blue Whales and the infamous sea wolf, the Killer Whale!

 




Dolphins are also in the whale family and are found along this coast. You can spot them as their profile is highlighted in a rising wave. It's really special!

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October 26, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

Oregon's Infamous Exploding Whale

SPERM WHALES are amazing and beautiful mammals that inhabit all but the polar areas of the earths oceans.   The problem presented was when an 8 ton sperm whale washed ashore in Florence, Oregon on November 12, 1970.  The problem was the smell of the decaying carcass.  A sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales, has about a foot thick layer of blubber and the largest head and largest brain of any animal and is just...big

The irony is this; the rep on the scene for the Oregon Highway Division, George Thornton, decided that blowing up the carcass was the solution.  Why the Highway Division?  Because, prior to roads being built, Oregon's beaches were the roads along the coast and thus they remain under the purvue of the Oregon State Highway Division.  Why was it ironic?  Just by chance there was an explosives expert,  Walter Umenhofer, visiting the area who learned of the intent to use 20 cases of dynamite, half a ton.  His suggestion of 20 sticks went unheeded.  The explosion sent blubber flying a quarter mile away and people running for cover. The irony was that a car was smashed by a huge piece of blubber, the car belonging to the explosives expert who had just purchased the car from the Dunham Oldsmobile dealership in nearby Eugene, Oregon during their "Get A Whale of a Deal" promotion! 

We have a great site, All Animal Jewelry, where we specialize in making realistic and beautiful animal jewelry and we have whales and other ocean dwelling creatures and shells and waves and...well, just go see for yourself! 


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October 24, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

J.J. The Baby Whale

In 1997 a 3 day old baby gray whale was found washed ashore near Marina Del Ray in California.  As a native San Diegan, an admirer of animals, and sculpting whales on a small scale for All Animal Jewelry, I was drawn to this baby whale. Whale Necklace

The little orphan was rescued and transported to Sea World in San Diego, where they found little hope for the whale's survival. But, survive she did.  The little whale was named J. J. in honor of Sea World colleague Judi Jones.  J.J. the baby whale is how everyone came to know and refer to her.  She lived for a little over a year at Sea World and gained almost 18,000 pounds by the time she was carefully released back into the ocean.  J.J. the baby whale was accepted into a pod of gray whales and has been migrating with them ever since.  But that's not the end of the story.  J.J. the baby whale was a popular ambassador for marine ecology and so, when local activist Mary Coakley and Friends of La Jolla Shores decided to renovate the Kellog Park area of La Jolla Shores there seemed no more perfect tribute to place in the park for children and all San Diegans, than a sculpture of J.J.  Incredible dedication realized that dream and J.J. the Baby Whale is there at La Jolla Shores, a realistic and full size beautiful sculpture.

Whale at Park


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October 19, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

The Whale That Toured America

           Humpback Whale Ringhumpback whale pendant

I love talking with older people; they have great stories about their experiences in a time we can only imagine.  A good friend of mine told me a story of his youth spent in Fargo, North Dakota.  In the 1930's, when he was about 9 years old, a train came to town and moved two flat cars onto a side rail for exhibition.  You'll NEVER GUESS what they were exhibiting. A whale! The whale was laid out across two flat cars and there were markers identifying physical parts, like the ear.  I cannot imagine what it would take to exhibit a whale, the whale that toured America!  I am so intigued by this story and am researching it for more information, so, check in again for the rest of the story!

Here are some of the whales that we make at All Animal Jewelry. A humpback whale wave ring, a humpback whale pendant, a sperm whale mother and calf pendant, and a sperm whale pendant.

            Sperm Whale Pendant


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October 17, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

Blue Whales Singing in The Deep Blue Sea

This past summer Blue Whales followed currents, krill and fish to the Pacific Coast.  We don't often get the chance to see Blue WMother and Calf Sperm Whale pendanthales here on the Pacific Coast, so it was very exciting to watch these beautiful, immense creatures.  Marine life is a favorite genre in creating our jewelry here at All Animal Jewelry. It's important to be able to observe the creatures we re-create in miniature sculptures as jewelry in addition to utilizing close-up photographs of specific features. Seeing is one thing, but on this adventure we had the awesome experience of HEARING the Blue Whales sing!

My daughter's husband, Damien, and I took off out of San Diego harbor in a small craft with a very shallow draft.  This proved to be providential being so close to the water. About 10 miles out we came upon our first Blue Whales; they are so long, up to 100 feet, that their movement through water is elegant.  Damien pipes up with an intriguing question: "Can you hear the whales under water?"  Well, of course, recordings of whale song, especially the humpback whale, is pretty well known.  However, his question had meaning and I was on the same page....could WE hear the whales right now?  The captain for our little vessel couldn't have guessed what happened next: Damien, at midships, put his head in the water and, as the little boat bobbed about, I anxiously waited.  At last he pulled up. "Well," asked the captain.  ""You bet! Of course!"  I was so excited, but at that very moment the captain engaged the engine and off we went following the whales out to sea.  

Soon we found a small pod of several Blue Whales.  Damien came to the bow and asked if I'd like to hear the whales.  Of course! However, the captain said it was time to go and we came about ant set out for the distant harbor.  Soon, however, there were more whales and he slowed. I looked over my right shoulder and saw he was cutting the engines.  I looked over my right and saw Damien half submerged, again!  Not wanting to disturb Damien's experience, I went over the side but I was at the bow so there was some distance between me and the water.  I wrapped a leg and a wrist through the lines and over I went.  Damien looked up in time to see me going in and, thinking I had abandoned all inhibition and was actually going swimming, he was soon at my legs hanging on.  I was happily upside down and head first in the Pacific.  As the boat bobbed and I was able I'd call out assuring them I was fine; they were not assured.

Letting go of all other experience, concentrating on the sounds from the ocean, there came from far away an eerie sound that gradually built to a beautiful string of sustained notes that tapered off only to begin again.  I was hearing BLUE WHALES SINGING in the deep blue sea!  It was such an exciting moment and I am so glad to have shared it with Damien.  Cursory research into blue whales has yielded that their song is gradually lowering in pitch.  We heard a higher pitch than the recordings I've listened to online.  Perhaps there were other whales unseen by us, perhaps not.  If you find yourself in San Diego, the best whale watching is done in small boats. I like Adventure RIB Rides the best...have a great time!

Whale jewelry

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October 15, 2012 1 comment 0 tags (show)

Blue Whales off Monterey

Blue Whales! How exciting to be able to see the greatest and largest creature that has ever lived on the plaOcean Wave pendant or necklace in silvernet!  NPR broadcast the news that blue whales were spotted off the California coast.  I had been undecided which route to take on my way to San Diego for the birth of our daughter Kaska's baby; this news of blue whales off Monterrey set the course for Monterrey. In creating our animal jewelry for All Animal Jewelry, whales are a favorite subject because, as a born and raised beach baby, I've always had a connection to the creatures of the Sperm Whale Ring in silverocean.  And now, the chance to see Blue Whales!!

The Blue Whale is a baleen whale and can grow to 100 feet long and weigh up to 180 tons. There are three subspecies; the blue whales of the North Atlantic and North Pacific are the largest. The Blue Whale, more specially, it is a rorqual whale; whales distinguished by the long folds that run from their navel to below the mouth which allow the great expansion of the throat when feeding as the whales open wide coming through a school of krill or fish in-taking huge amounts of water with the fish.  When the mouth closes, the whale uses it's immense tongue to push the soup forward forcing the seawater out through the plates of fingernail-like baleen but not the fish.  Blue whales normally inhabit the coldest waters, which is why we usually don't see them off the Pacific coast.  However, due to some unique conditions, Blue Whales were being sighted off of Monterrey!

I arrived in Monterrey late and was up early to get to the old wharf to go out with Monterey Whale Watching, a rustic but seaworthy enterprise!  http://www.montereybaywhalewatch.com/ .  Two hours later through the fog and 4 foot swell, "Thar she blows!!!"  It was so exciting to see blue whales for the first time.  They were easily distinguished by their long, long backs and we were able to see their flukes up as they periodically dove. Seeing the blue whales off Monterrey was a truly beautiful and magnificent experience. 

Tsunami Ocean Wave necklace or pendant

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October 14, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

There Be Whales!

I was recently on the right coast.  It's an annual trip to visit relatives and places near and dear to me. As usual, there were changes from previous years, most of them good, some great.  In particular was what was new and different in Gloucester, Massachusetts that led me out onto the deep blue Atlantic sea to humpback whales.  Humpback whales are a favorite, their form and long pectoral fins make them a beautiful subject for our jewelry! See our pendants and rings at All Animal Jewelry.

whale pendantWhale ring in silver

 Different can surprise you. In my case, I happened onto Lisbon, New Hampshire where I met some wonderful people who loaned me their kayak to explore the beautiful and wild Ammonoosuc River.  I happened onto the New Hampshire Highland Games in Lincoln, New Hampshire at Loon Mountain.  This three day event is crazy fun with sheep dog trials, a thousand or more pipers, Highland dance competition, crazy strange food like rumbledethumps, and zany fun music from individual artists like Charlie Zahm and Alastair or groups like CELTICA and ABANAUGH . I did not happen to see any moose....AGAIN! It's only been 20 years, but who's counting.  Natives laugh then, in genuine concern, tell me where I will definitely see moose all to no avail; I stake out the area, quiet as a mouse, and wait...no moose.  There's always next year.

I firWhale pendantst visited Gloucester, Massachusetts with my mother, an educator, when I was a wee thing 5 years of age.  (That's a stretch, I've never been a wee thing; I was nicknamed the Bomb from the start and ended up 5'11" by the time I was 15.) I've been back to Gloucester innumerable times ever since & would stay at a gorgeous Victorian B & B, but it sold last year and is now a restaurant.  Just down the road is the Yankee Whale Fleet, but they changed up this past year and now head out to blue water with fishermen.  I arrived in Gloucester late at night, disappointed at what I found but not deterred.  I soon found the Vista Motel and it was great!  The owner directed me to 7 Seas Whale Watching, also fabulous!  Cute Whale Ring in silver

 I arrived early and simultaneously with a large bus of high school students from Manchester, Connecticut.  The 7 Seas staff were courteous and attentive getting everyone parked and where they needed to be.  It was a brilliant late September day and calm seas were waiting.  The students were fun, inquisitive, intelligent and courteous.  The captain made his way out to sea while the biologist spoke with clarity and solid, interesting information.  And then, there were whales!

We came upon an association of two whales, a well known female named Owl for the color pattern on her flukes.  The two would surface off the port bow and within minutes dive and come up somewhere off the right bow by several hundred feet.  Soon, however, there were four whales in a tight group.  The water was so clear, the northern light so perfect, that the near vertical dives of the beautiful whales were easily traced into the depths by watching the light illuminate the elegant, long pectoral fins that characterize these whales.

Then we were surprised!  Humpback whales are curious creatures and soon the little pod leisurely floated over to our ship, mid ships on the port side, where they bobbed about in the water for several minutes before resuming their hunt!  What a great day in Gloucester!

 Whale Tail Pendant in 14k Gold

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October 08, 2012 Add a comment 0 tags (show)