I had no expectations as we set off from Sausalito, California to check out Stinson Beach early yesterday morning but immediately fell in love with it. The bizarre twist was to come across a handful of people looking at a 42ft fin whale that had washed ashore. Within a couple of hours there are two TV crews, a couple of print journalists and a radio reporter on site. We watch as a JCB digger attempts and fails to pull the whale ashore – the strap snaps.
As I returned to the car I wondered about the Tsunami Warning signs and the possibility of earthquakes.
With the teenagers joining us again after their trip with friends to the fairground and surfing of Santa Cruz we head back to Stinson as a family to hire kayaks and surf boards only to find we may not enter the water due to sharks being spotted 300yds offshore. I know all this as I recognised the Park Ranger from the whale drama and asked him; a natural educator he happily explained it all.
For this reason we bring our second visit to the giant reedwoods of Muir Woods forward. With the extremely rare beaching of a whale and then sharks on the beach perhaps our good fortune – or misfortune – will have us turn a corner and find a bear. Reality is one teenager car sick from the winding roads and the other craving an activity that requires an engine.
Why do whales wash ashore?