Whale Spouting

“To have a huge, friendly whale willingly approach your boat
and look you straight in the eye is without doubt one of the
most extraordinary experiences on the planet.”
Mark Carwardine

Wally the Gray Whale

Wally the famous gray whale spouting in Redondo Beach.

For the past few weeks, my husband and I have been enjoying the gray whales outside our living room window. We spot them when the whales spout a large heart-shaped spray of water. Curious creature that I am, I wanted to learn more about whales spouting.

Contrary to what you may have seen in such movies as Pixar’s otherwise extremely entertaining Finding Nemo, whales don’t  spray water out of their blowholes.

Whales’ noses/blowholes, are on the top of their heads, so that they can just barely break the surface to breathe without rising too far out of the water. When inhaling, they flex a muscle which opens the blowhole and take in a big gulp of air. Then, they relax the muscle to close the blowhole, leaving them free to dive down beneath the surface of the water once more without drowning themselves.

It’s exhaling that’s the interesting part. When the whale resurfaces, they have to release the used up air back into the atmosphere just like all other mammals do. This results in a spout, but it isn’t water, at least not at first. The air inside the whale is typically quite warm from the whale’s body heat. When it’s exhaled, it meets the much cooler temperature of the air outside and immediately condenses, making it look like a spout of water. This is also often mixed with mucus —it is a nose, after all.

Every species of whale has a differently shaped blowhole. Some even have two, which results in differently shaped spouts. You can tell what species of whale by seeing their spouts. For instance, a humpback whale’s spout looks like a column; orcas’ spouts are somewhat more bushy; and gray whales’ two blowholes are positioned in such a way that their exhalation results in something of a heart-shaped spout.

Now when I go whale watching next Saturday with my son, just like an experienced whale watcher, we’ll be able to tell which whales are which by their whale spouting.

Shine On

Fond Unfaded Memories

“Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories.
And the longer a song has existed in our lives,
the more memories we have of it.”
Stevie Wonder

Jackie Evancho

Singer Jackie Evancho’s album, “Songs from the Silver Screen”. She was just twelve years old when she produced this album in 2012.

Music has always been a part of my life. Particular songs will conjure up good and bad memories of a time, a place, a feeling and even memories of a scent.

My taste in music ranges anywhere from classic singers such as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and music from classical, rock, country western as well as blue grass.

There is one genre that I haven’t been familiar with. Opera. The closest to opera music I experienced was when I saw a performance of Phantom of the Opera, twice I might add back in the 1990s. But you can’t really count that as true opera music.

However, that all changed on August 10, 2010 while watching, America’s Got Talent. That evening a 10 year old singer named Jackie Evancho sang the song, O mio babbino caro. I didn’t understand a word of the Italian lyrics but that didn’t matter. Her performance not only gave me goose bumps but also brought me to tears.

Her album, “Songs From the Silver Screen” is pure perfection. This young girl’s voice is magnificent, along with her choice of songs.

You can be sure that the music of Jackie Evancho will give fond memories to millions of people. Because, fond  memories of music is so powerful they never fade.

As for this Jackie Evancho fan, her music will always be fond unfaded memories.

Shine On

Windows of Your Mind

What you really want for yourself is always trying to break through,
just as a cooling breeze flows through an open window on a hot day.
Your part is to open the windows of your mind.”
Vernon Howard

Windows of Your Mind

Canyonlands National Park in the southeastern town of Moah in Utah.

Shine On

From Whence We Came

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea,
whether it is to sail or to watch – we are
going back from whence we came.”
John F. Kennedy


Just Another Day at the Beach

Shine On

Just Around the Bend

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high.
Look the world straight in the eye.”
Helen Keller

Just Around the Bend

Just Around the Bend on Narcissa Drive in Palos Verdes, California.

Life is but a journey with twists and turns just like a winding road. The future is hard to predict, comparable in many ways to the experience of rounding a corner in a new location and seeing unexpected sights. If an event is just around the bend in the sense of time, it generally means that the wait won’t be long.

Sometimes these bends and turns in life take us in a new direction. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worst. But always in the direction of the unknown. If you’re lucky, these turns in life can make all the difference in one’s life.

Often we are very close to a destination in life, yet we are unable to see it. It’s always good to have a second set of eyes, to help you see the way. A friend will be able to see things much clearer than you. A true friend, will give you words of encouragement such as: “Don’t worry, it’s ‘just around the bend.'”

Shine On