Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frank Gromling Hangs with Body Glove Family

Nature Calls!

~by Frank Gromling

January 23, 2012: Off the Southern California Coast

With Bob Meistrell

This past week was a whirlwind of activity for me, and next week will be more of the same. But, I’ve always figured that moving forward is better than standing still, except when staring at a sunrise or sunset, when just watching is demanded.

Anyway, I had the benefit of a quick trip to Redondo Beach, California to visit with Body Glove International, a major company in the surfing and diving industries. As part of that visit, I had the great pleasure to join company co-founder Bob Meistrell and several family members and others on a dive trip. We took the 72’ Body Glove dive boat The Disappearance out of King Harbor and lazily cruised south to a favorite dive spot off Palos Verdes Point.

The Disappearance

Bob Meistrell in command

On board were Bob and wife Pattie, Bob’s nephew Billy (vice president), Jim Miller (advisor), Billy’s daughter Jenna (communications director) and son Daley, plus six other friends. Planning to dive were Billy, Jenna, Daley and friends Stefan and Tony.

Divers ready to go under

We anchored in 60 feet of ocean and soon all divers were off the swim platform and under the surface. While the divers moved silently off in search of lobsters and other adventures, I took turns discussing business with Bob and Jim, reviewing a new project I had brought them.

Later, while out on the back deck watching the ocean and diving birds, always a possible sign for the presence of whales, I saw a spout that could only have come from a whale, not a dolphin. I focused on the area and was rewarded by another spout and the flash of black, shiny skin. I had a whale!

It was over a half mile away and heading farther north from us, so I began to “wish” it to turn around and head our way. Not five minutes later I saw a spout closer to us and soon realized that, indeed, the whale had come about and was slowly making its way south toward our location. I love it when whales know I’m around and have to come say hello!

Gray whale just offshore Palos Verdea

Although my iPhone camera lacks distance capability, it was the only camera I had, so I snapped a few shots of the whale as it surfaced about 50 yards away. Although it doesn’t show well in my pictures, there was a fairly deep cut on the peduncle, the top of the whale near the tail, which looked like a keel strike. The cut had healed, but it was evident a boat had crossed paths with the whale at some time in the past.

All of us on deck watched as the young gray whale swam slowly south, just off the kelp line along the coast. In a few minutes it had vanished in the distance, but remained the topic of our amused conversation. When the divers surfaced a few minutes later, they had not seen the whale from below, but caught a parting glimpse as it moved into an area of bright sunlight on the surface.

Gray whale moving south

What a great day! The ocean swells, sunshine, new friends having a good time, and a whale swimming by to say welcome to the west coast. Once again, I was in my element and loving every minute of it. Even the return to King Harbor, with the painted mural of gray whales off in the distance, was a special experience as we passed the Portofino Hotel and glided past boats of every description.

It doesn’t get much better

Until next time, remember to do one little thing to help Nature have a better day.

Frank Gromling, Publisher
Ocean Publishing
386-517-1600 / Fax 386-517-2564
Making waves with quality books!

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