Tag Archives: trip

Whale Watching Tour

Whale Watching RouteI have been on a few whale watching trips in the past.  We took one out of Provincetown on Cape Cod that had a whale guarantee.  No whales and you get a free second trip.  95% success rate.  Guess what day we went on.  No chance to go back and take the free trip.  We did a trip in a RIB when staying on Pender Island and had more success on that occasion including a pretty close encounter with a humpback.  Other than that it was a pretty quiet trip.

Consequently, I was cautious when we went on our trip out in Monterey Bay.  This is an area with an abundance of marine life, particularly at this time of year.  Dolphins, humpbacks, orcas and even blue whales have been about a lot recently.  However, we went on a trip that had a lot better chances.  It was an all day excursion.  It was listed as eight hours but we ended up being gone for eleven.  The map above shows where I took shots so you can see we went a long way up the coast.  It is easy to see why they don’t let children under 13 or pregnant women on.  Boredom or urgent needs are not realistic!

The day was very productive.  Be ready for a stream of posts of aquatic wildlife!

ISAP Field Trip – Part 2

We all gathered outside the Air and Space Museum to get on the buses for the second part of the trip.  A few people got on the opposite bus to the one that they had come on.  This apparently was a problem from a security perspective since our next stop was to be the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar.  It would transpire that some would be glad they got back on their original bus before too long.

Miramar is a short drive north of San Diego.  Now it a Marine Corps base, Miramar has operated under the control of a number of services through its life.  It is probably most famous and the center of US Navy fighter operations in the 1980s when Top Gun was filmed there.  Fightertown USA now is home to some marine F/A-18 Hornets as well as a lot of V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft.  These have now almost completely replaced the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter with the marines at Miramar.

We were to be hosted by one of thes tilt rotor squadrons.  However, first we had to get there!  As we headed up the freeway, the bus suddenly went rather quiet.  We coasted to a halt, our driver/comic hopped out, disappeared around the back and before too long we were on our way again.  This was not to last though.  Very soon we repeated the process and this time we were sitting on the shoulder of the freeway.

One errant bolt apparently was killing the cooling fan and the engine, in full self preservation mode, was shutting down before any damage could be done.  To add insult to injury, we were actually in sight of the base.  While a rescue plan consisting of a mechanic to fix the bus and the other bus making a return trip to pick us up was put into effect, we got to stand on the side of the freeway and watch the Hornets bashing the pattern.

Eventually we were on our way and got to join the rest of the party in the Officers’ Club at Miramar.  There was food left for us and fortunately nobody decided to try and do any Top Gun song routines in the club.  With a little compression of the time at lunch, we were able to get back on schedule.  Off we went to the squadron.

We were given access to the squadron hangar (at least most of us were until the security gate got over its concern about how many people were coming in and locked a bunch outside for a while).  There were a couple of aircraft in the hangar we had access to shoot and the doors were open to the ramp although we couldn’t venture outside.  Plenty of Ospreys were out on the ramp and there was some flying activity.  A Super Stallion also came in and some Hornets and and Orion were also flying in the distance.

The sun was out and the vast expanse of concrete was throwing up a lot of heat haze.  This frustrated any attempts to shot anything too far away but there was still plenty to look at.  Unfortunately, as our time was running out, we gathered together for the group shot.  Just at this point a bunch of aircraft returned.  The security minders were most insistent that we stop shooting and head to the group photo which was a bit of a shame but never mind.

After the group shots it was back to the buses for the final part of the day’s fun.  Another installment will be forthcoming soon…

ISAP Field Trip – Part 1

During the ISAP symposium, we had a field trip out.  The first stop on the trip was the San Diego Air and Space Museum.  Located in Balboa Park, this is one of my favorite parts of the city – even before including a museum with a bunch of aircraft.  I had been to the museum quite recently during a separate trip to San Diego.

We had an excellent breakfast laid on for us as soon as we got to the museum.  The journey from the hotel included a running commentary from our bus driver.  He obviously missed his true vocation (I’m just not sure what that should have been!)

The museum is circular and has a nice courtyard in the center which is glazed.  With a selection of interesting aircraft, it is a very pleasant place to hang out.  I did just that for a bit of the time catching up with some old friends and making some new ones.  I also took a wandering around the museum.  It is a touch tricky to photograph without a tripod since it is rather dark so I chose my subjects carefully.

Also, the basement area where much of the restoration work is done was available to us.  This is normally off limits and provided an interesting place to explore.  The people involved in the restoration were on hand and happy to chat.

Not a bad start to the day!  More to come from the rest of the day…