Gray Whales Return to Redondo

“The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope.
Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning:
we are all in the same boat.”
Jacques Yves Cousteau

Gray Whales Return to Redondo

Photo from our local paper.

For the past few days, my husband and I have watched as several Gray whales play in the waters off Redondo Beach.

First you see them leap out of the water extending their massive bodies into the air and then slamming back down on to the water which is known as breaching. A few seconds later, their distinctive V-shaped blow can be seen as they travel southward for their fall migration.

Gray whales make one of the longest migrations of any mammal on earth. Every year they swim more than 10,000 miles roundtrip, between nursery lagoons in Mexico to feeding grounds in the Arctic. This Southward migration is led by pregnant females in a hurry to reach the warm birthing and nursery lagoons in Mexico. The whales usually travel within 2 miles off shore and makes this one of the few whale migrations that can be seen from shore.

For me, this is such an astonishing sight to behold when the Gray whales return to Redondo.

Shine On

In Our Hearts Forever

“I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other.
Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life
– whoever you are, whatever our differences.”
John Denver

John Denver, 12/31/43 – 10/12/97

He was an American singer-songwriter, actor, activist and humanitarian, whose greatest commercial success was as a solo singer, starting in the 1970s.

Henry John Deutschendor, Jr., or as he is famously known, John Denver, was born on December 31, 1943 in Roswell, New Mexico.

Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. By 1969, he abandoned the music group life to pursue a solo career and released his first album for RCA Records: Rhymes & Reasons. Two years prior, Denver had made a self-produced demo recording of some of the songs he played at his concerts. He included in the demo a song he had written called “Babe I Hate to Go”, later renamed “Leaving on a Jet Plane”.

John Denver’s rise to stardom coincided during a bleak time in American life. The Vietnam war was ragging, and young people throughout the states were protesting the war. His music about life, love and the beauty of nature was a welcome respite from the violent war images on the evening news.

By the mid 1970s he was firmly established as America’s best-selling performer. He recorded and released over 300 songs, which about 200 he composed.

John Denver was not only a talented artist, he also had ecologic interest. He was one of the first entertainers to bring awareness to environmental issues. In his epic 1975 song “Calypso,” which is an ode to the exploration ship and team of environmental activist Jacques Cousteau, he donated all the revenue from the song to Jacques Cousteau’s Nonprofit Organization. He also campaigned against the whaling industry and worked with President Jimmy Carter to combat hunger in Africa.

He was also an avid pilot with over 2,700 hours of flying experience. Due to his love of flying, he was attracted to NASA and became dedicated to America’s work in outer space. He conscientiously worked to help bring into being the “Citizens in Space” program. In 1985, Denver passed NASA’s rigorous physical exam and was in line for a space flight, a finalist for the first citizen’s trip on the Space Shuttle in 1986, but he was not chosen. After the Challenger disaster with teacher Christa McAuliffe aboard, Denver dedicated his song “Flying for Me” to all astronauts, and he continued to support NASA.

One of John Denver’s passions was flying and a friend once asked him if he ever feared of dying in a plane crash? Denver said that he never worries about crashing, but if it’s his time to go, he would want to go in his plane.

He was killed on October 12, 1997 when his experimental Rutan Long-EZ plane crashed into Monterey Bay near Pacific Grove, California. At the time of the crash his pilot license had been revoked due to previous DUIs. However, the autopsy showed there was no drugs or alcohol in his system.

John Denver represented America at its best. He was a wonderful artist and thanks to his beautiful music he will live in our hearts forever.

Shine On

A Higher Level of Language

“The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope.
Now, as never before, the old phrase
has a literal meaning: we are
all in the same boat.
Jacques Yves Cousteau

A Higher Level of Language

Scientists and researchers have known for quite some time that some of the most intelligent animals can be found not on land, but in our oceans.

For example, the sperm whale has the largest brain of any animal on earth, yet it is not considered one of the more intelligent aquatic marine mammals. Orcas and dolphins show strong signs of high intelligence, such as complex play behavior, the ability to learn, the ability to plan and even have regional dialects.

The patterns of clicking vocalisations these aquatic mammals use to communicate vary from clan to clan. Each whale clan, or group consisting of several families, has its own specific accent, or dialect.

A recent study in Canada, has evidence of these mammals capability of cultural learning; more specifically, that the whales learn the clicking patterns from each other, rather than other methods, such as genetic inheritance.

Several methods of evaluating their clicking sounds were examined. In the genetic inheritance method, for instance, whales inherit the ability to know which sounds to produce. Another method tested was individual learning, in which individual whales develop clicking patterns on their own. A third method was pure social learning, in which young whales learn clicking patterns indiscriminately from older whales.

What the study found is that social learning with bias, as opposed to pure social learning, is the most likely way whales learn clicking patterns. This means that the whales are biased towards learning certain clicking patterns, based on specific clicking from whales in their own clans, or the most commonly used. This is similar to how human dialects evolve.

It seems that man is not as unique with his communication skills as was always believed. There are other animals in the world, such as the whale that may have a great deal to teach man about a higher level of language.

Shine On

A Day With Sea Lions

People protect what they love.”
Jacques Yves Cousteau

Happy Pups

What a spectacular day! Lots of fun activity for young and old.

They had music, an assortment of food trucks and demonstrations on what the Marine Mammal Care Center is all about.

The volunteers were helpful and knowledgeable. It was cool to watch the sea lion pups play with one another. There was also a live sea creature exhibit on wheels by Aquarium of the Pacific from Long Beach.

My son and I were both glad we attended the event. Here’s a few images of a day with sea lions:

triplets starfish

single pup buds

Shine On

Body Glove

“The sea, once it casts its spell,
holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Body Glove

Sailing, surfing and snorkeling are just a few of the ocean activities people enjoy in Redondo Beach.

Boating and sailing is another popular activity. One of the boats you will see quite often in Redondo Beach waters is the Body Glove boat.

Body Glove is a surf, skateboard and water sports brand started in Redondo Beach. Founded in 1953 by twin brothers Bill and Bob Meistrell, the brothers are credited for inventing the first practical wetsuit in the early 1950s in the back of their Redondo Beach surf shop, Dive N’ Surf.

From a small back yard of a surf shop, two passionate divers went on to become Redondo’s most prominent business, Body Glove.

Shine On