Wow - what a wonderful experience!! The Oceanic Society's ocean voyage was the highlight of our week in San Francisco! We were very fortunate to have reasonably decent weather and relatively calm seas but both my husband and I - neither of whom has ever been seasick - took the precaution of taking a dose of non-drowsy Gravol. Didn't think we would need it but always like to be prepared - and they tell you this in the documentation. We staked out our spot in the bow of the boat immediately after the safety instructions and stayed there all day. Started off in rain and fog - bundled up so you could only see our eyes and had to remove our glasses because of the rain. But by the end of the day we both had the worst sunburns on our faces - but still worth every second of discomfort!! We were not even out of the harbour when we saw bottlenose dolphins. Then on the way to the islands - thanks to a sharp eyed young man - we saw a Leatherback Sea Turtle and spent about 10 minutes watching him. As we approached the islands we saw some puffins - my favourites - and as we were going around the main island listening to the sea lions we spotted a gray whale. As we went past the islands it was the most amazing sight - no matter where you looked from the bow of the boat you could see blows. I got more pictures and video of the humpbacks than I ever would have thought - we even got to see them playing and "bubble feeding". Then we saw the taller, slimmer blows and then there were blue whales. We saw a sunfish, merres, an albatross, a bunch of cormorants and seals, sea lions and more puffins - and the little puffball birds whose name I forget at the moment. It was an incredible day and we were very, very fortunate. Now, I realize that not all of the Oceanic Society Expeditions are going to see that much sea life but it is still pretty amazing. And if you follow the instructions that you are given and dress correctly, you should not be cold and shouldn't be seasick. The naturalists on board - and we were lucky enough to have 3 - were very knowledgeable and informative, friendly and helpful. The captain of the Salty Lady was also a wealth of information. I spoke with some "locals" on our trip and some had been 3 or more times and always thought it was great. We are already thinking about our next trip down south and our next Oceanic Society adventure. For our money it is one of the best bargains around but if you are looking for a "pleasure cruise" where you are waited on and pampered look elsewhere. But if you want the information and the "scientific" expedition, then this is the trip for you!! Thanks Oceanic Society!!
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