January 22, 2012

Will & Grays

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 9:19 pm

Good morning and greetings, Super PAC fans. Well, you’ve got to hand
it to Diana Ross and the Supremes Court. Their 2010 ruling allowing
these out of control groups to raise unlimited amounts of money from
individuals and corporations and then spend it attacking the campaigns
of political candidates has wreaked havoc in the presidential

But then again, who doesn’t like watching a civil war break out in the Republican Party. I believe it was either a Confederate soldier or Newt Gingrich’s second wife who once said, “We’ll fight them, sir, ’til hell freezes over, and then, sir, we will fight them on the ice.”

These Super PACs now have a venue where they can launch totally inaccurate, outrageous missile scuds against opposing candidates. I haven’t seen a series of such vicious attacks since a group of killer orcas went after a gray whale last spring in Monterey Bay. The poor whale was as defenseless as Mitt Romney trying to defend his flip flopping on the issues. And that leads us into today’s post, with an assist from the reporting of Jason Hoppin and Stephen Baxter of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Last Monday, a 700 pound,13-foot baby gray whale was found beached
just north of Moss Landing. It was obviously in distress, and despite
the best efforts by marine experts who were called to the scene, it
had to be euthanized by a veterinarian. The undersized and prematurely born whale was just one day old and had been seperated from its mother and somehow made it to shore. Much like it would have been in my case, without her, it never had a chance. The pictures of this youngster dying on the sand were just tragic.

Reports out of Monterey say that the gray whale migration was at its
peak last week, with whale watching boats seeing 20 to 30 go by each
hour. What a phenomenal sight to observe as these gigantic creatures make their 12,000 mile migration from Alaska to Baja, California. Usually, the mothers wait till they get to the warmer water to give birth, but this group of California gray whales was traveling with youngsters and their nannies. Personally, I would prefer to give birth in a warm, sheltered lagoon, but that’s just me.

In the fall, the humpback whales off the central coast made international headlines with their breaching so close to shore, and now the grays are putting on a show for the locals. The Calfornia grays, who grow to 40 to 50 feet in length, have been spotted mating near Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, which has local parent groups up in arms.

All this Moby Dick talk reminded me of an incredible morning back in
April of 2009, when a year-old gray whale washed up on the shore just
north of the arch at Its Beach. Except for a modeling shoot that I
witnessed back in the 80′s, this was the most interesting morning in my 26 years plus of pounding the West Cliff beat.

As you can from the first photo, I was not alone in taking in this epic
sight, as the local TV stations went live with their coverage. This
25-foot-long, 8,260 pound juvenile had been found dead next to the wharf and had been towed out to sea for burial. But for some reason, it floated back toward land to create this unique photo op.

Since the whale refused to be buried at sea, they decided to haul it up
the cliff, which created this surreal scene of a gigantic sea creature
being pulled up through the iceplants and then loaded onto a flatbed
truck. It was saddening to see this beautiful specimen of the sea being taken away for a final burial at the city landfill, but it did make for a whale of a story. To read my original post, click on April 2009 in the archives to the right and scroll down to “Whale, I Guess This Is Goodbye.”

These moments just serve as a reminder of what an exotic place
Monterey Bay is. There’s a reason they call it the Grand Canyon of the
Pacific. As a landscape and nature photographer, I shoot images of what is on top of the water. But there is a whole other world, that for people like me, who are wetsuit challenged, do not get to observe
except by going the the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which just raised their
entrance fee to $32.95 for box seats.

So even though I’m not seeing what’s below the bay, I’m taking in the
most from what’s above. There’s a reason I choose to live along the
edge of the continent. I believe it can be summed up a few simple
words inscribed on a bench above Its Beach. “I live by the sea. Enough said.” Good night and drive home safely.

On to the late night. During a campaign event on Saturday, Mitt Romney reached into his pocket and gave cash to a woman who said she was broke. Which got awkward, when she was like, ‘I’m also lonely! Experts say Mitt Romney needs Latino support in elections. Romney says, I’ll never pander to any group or mi nombre no es Mitt Romney.” –Jimmy Fallon According to the exit polls, Mitt Romney won in every category of voter in New Hampshire, from rich to poor, from young to old, from white to really white. He won across the board.” –Jay Leno

“Mitt Romney, whose father was born in Mexico, is now talking up his
Mexican heritage. Not to be outdone today, Newt Gingrich said he once
cheated on one of his wives with a woman named Juanita.” –Jay Leno
“Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race for president to return to
his former job as the guy in the picture that comes with the frame.”
–Jimmy Kimmel “Sen. John McCain told Sean Hannity that choosing Sarah Palin was still the best decision he ever made. Well, today the
Arizona DMV took away his driver’s license.” –Jay Leno

“The South Carolina GOP primary campaign is in full swing. Candidates
are shaking hands, kissing babies and strategically ignoring Confederate flags.” –Stephen Colbert “Researchers found a frog in new guinea that is so tiny, they believe it’s the smallest vertebrate on the planet. It has the tiniest backbone of any living creature, except members of Congress.” –Jay Leno “Kim Jung Nam, the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, said that as a leader his younger brother will fail. When he heard this, Kim Jung Un was so upset at his older brother, he yelled, ‘I’m telling Kim Jung Mom.’” –Conan O’Brien

So our summer weather ended last week as the winter rains finally made an appearance on the central coast. While snowstorms battered the northeast and northwest, Florida and Hawaii boast sunny skies and 80 degree temperatures. I love the meterological diversity of this country. And any form of chocolate.

So today marks the start of the two week Chinese New Year celebration. It’s the Year of the the Dragon, a symbol which stands for power, good luck, success, and happiness, which I was definitely feeling after yesterday’s NFC Championship game. We’ll catch you heading to Indianapolis. Aloha, mahalo and later, New York Giant fans.


  1. I remember living on West Cliff Drive in the Seventies and watching the gray whale migration from our living room. Some people thought it a bit extreme when I would sgueegee the windows during rain storms, but I could never get enough of the cetacean experience.

    Comment by Whale of a Tale — January 23, 2012 @ 9:13 am

  2. Those are impressive photos accompanying a sad tale but not as sad as all those 49′er fans in your neighborhood must be today. Now on to face the biggest Ahab of them all, Bill Belichick. Go Giants!

    Comment by Bear Pascoe — January 23, 2012 @ 10:27 am

  3. Not much to say, but wanted to check in and say hello.

    Comment by Wendi Gilbert — January 23, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  4. Seeing the whaling wall left me sad and disappointed. Disappointed like a girl who was searching for a boyfriend with a good jumper on Jdate.com.

    Comment by Jafail McGee — January 23, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

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