Jet lag meant 5am awake again- dark and chilly. We arrived in San Diego following a storm and hit unseasonably cold weather; just 3 degrees C at that time of the morning. We weren’t expecting to wear our cold weather mountain clothes in the first few days!
We had a brief scare when David woke with a sore throat. The mind races through why we could justify not doing a covid test – but of course we must be responsible and luckily is lateral flow test was negative.
Although cold, the sun seems to have an exceptional sheen to it here as we pedalled a couple of miles to Mission Bay to join a whale watching tour. I’m always a bit trepidatious getting on a boat as I am prone to sea sickness but the water looked calm. We got a prime position at the prow and the boat chugged out of the harbour past basking sealions on the jetty; a bit like going on a safari and seeing the best wildlife in the car park!
We needn’t have worried about not seeing enough wildlife. We were soon in the midsts of a large pod of dolphins swirling and jumping round the boat and not long after among an even larger pod of even more energetic dolphins displaying their jumping skills with their young close beside. It was an incredibly beautiful site.
However the boat steered a course away from the dolphins as the guides on board had spotted whale spouts in the distance. Soon we could all see them – 3 grey whales. As we got nearer the boat slowed and we could see their massive bodies and occasional tail as they dived under water. Everyone on the boat then seemed to hold their breath waiting to see where they would come up again; 2, 3, 4, 5 minutes later. This is the migration season for grey whales returning from the warm waters around Mexico where they have their young back to their feeding grounds in Alaska. Astonishingly during the whole of the migration down from Alaska to Mexico and back, the whales are unable to feed so they have to live off their huge bulk.
We were on a fairly large tour boat but several small boats soon arrived, which were able to get nearer to the whales. One of the whales got obsessed with a couple of small boats and was rubbing itself along the boats causing them to rock alarmingly. The guide said this was common behaviour when they were in Mexico but unusual to see here.
Although wrapped up as if we were going to the arctic because of the cold, we really enjoyed the 3 hour trip, which flew by. I was thrilled to see whales, which I have never seen before, but the abiding memory will be of the dolphins.
Back on land it was warmer but we were tired when we got back to our motel; a combination of jet lag and 3 hours of fresh air on the boat. We rested up for the afternoon as we had been invited to dinner by some friends of friends that evening.
By late afternoon we were back on our bikes and cycling up (steeply) to Mission Hills, where we met Amy and Mark in their beautiful home, which they so generously invited us to. Hugely charming and hospitable they fed us delicious food and wonderful wine, and thoroughly entertained us. They are avid antique collectors and their home is chock full of the most wonderful things; paintings and collectors items from around the world – including, incredibly, an 18th C painting of Bewdley, which showed our first house there by the bridge over the river, a suit of armour and relics of battles throughout medieval Europe.
A fabulous evening to wrap up our stay in San Diego and set us up for the start of our cycling the following day.