Monday, June 04, 2007

Public Eavesdropping

“I just wanted to see some f---ing whales!”
-One wildlife lover to another at the Martinez Marina and Yacht club, Memorial Day, 2007.

Maybe you’d heard: There were some lost whales in the bay recently. They got as far as Sacramento, where they stayed for so long everyone began to wonder if they’d ever find their way to Alaska. By the weekend Pipi and I were in Napa, they had finally started heading toward the sea, and were splashing around Suisun Bay near the city of Martinez.

On the way back from the wine country, Pipi and I made a detour to the Martinez Yacht Club and Marina, which we’d seen on TV. There was a pretty good-sized crowd there—I guess we weren’t the only ones who’d seen the live broadcast from there that morning.

We could see helicopters hovering several miles away, so I think the whales were close, but we never did spot them. I don’t think they actually swam by the marina until the next day, so I’m glad Pipi and I didn’t stay until we got sunburned (or profane.)

We did see something else interesting in Martinez, a city I had never visited but which is quickly becoming the safari capital of the Bay Area. A family of beavers has made itself at home near the Amtrak station, and is not showing any signs of leaving. They have built a dam across what used to be tiny trickle of a creek downtown. It is now a 10-foot-deep stream.

We didn’t actually see the beavers, either. We did get a good look at the dam, though. That’s not something I see every day. These animals may have had the time for a mid-day nap during our visit, but they clearly were busy little beavers at some point.

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