There are at least five good reasons to shell out $65 and participate in Saturday's Ultimate Whale Watch adventure to the west end of Santa Catalina Island:
1) It's not your typical three-hour tour. This annual excursion, offered by the American Cetacean Society's Los Angeles chapter, departs San Pedro's 22nd Street Landing at 8 a.m. and does not return until 5 p.m.
2) Unless you're prone to seasickness and mired in misery, you will encounter an array of sea life. I've been on a few of these and have never been disappointed.
3) Dolphins are likely to put on a better show than the whales. The teem by the thousands in the San Pedro Channel and are known for their playful behavior. They love to ride the bow wakes and peek upward at gawkers aboard the boat.
4) There will be expert naturalists aboard and they'll point out and identify all manner of wildlife, from sea birds to sea lions to porpoises and elephant seals.
5) Lastly, you probably will see at least one gray whale, and may encounter a dozen or more. This trip is timed to coincide with the peak of the northbound migration off Southern California. I've had trips where we saw gray whales, humpback, fin and minke whales. Yet last year we didn't seen any grays until the very end, when we were back along the coast.
But it's always a pleasant experience shared by people with a fondness for marine creatures and their environment. There are several openings for Saturday's voyage and those interested can call Bernardo or Diane Alps at (310) 548-0966, or email Bernardo at email@example.com, or Diane at Diane.Alps@lacity.org.
Enjoy the adventure!
-- Pete Thomas
Photo: A Pacific gray whale travels north off the west end of Santa Catalina Island. The migration back to Arctic home waters is well underway. Credit: Pete Thomas / Los Angeles Times