Our trip to the Balboa Peninsula for the whale watch was a trip back in time as well as in space. When we first arrived in California in 1980, we lived on the Peninsula because there was no room in the graduate student housing at Verano Place for the first year we were here. So we found a little place a block from the water, unfortunately next door to a drunken couple who were always brawling. I would hear things break, hear her shrieking, and call the police. The police would come and yank the two, cursing and screaming, out of the house. She would never want him to be arrested, so the police would let them both go with a warning.
The second time, we lived up the Peninsula a bit, on 11th St., and in winter, had to slog through the flooded streets. Our apartment was infested with huge roaches. It was a terrible place.
We haven't been back since, really. So when we traveled up to the whale watch place, it was strange. The place has become much more seedy even than it was then. Many storefronts are empty and windows broken. But the whale watch was wonderful.
Walking on the boat while it cut through the waves was like riding on a big, powerful horse, maybe a Percheron, standing up in the saddle. The water was dark, and boiled with small swells. The sky was a perfect blue. And then, after an hour and a half or more, we finally saw the blue whale(s) break the surface repeatedly. It was amazing how long the creature was, and how close to the ship. I feel very lucky to have seen it.