We were lucky. Mary spotted a black curve rising out the water, and we pulled into a layby.
There they were, three, maybe four, whales making their way up the coast. Black backs rose out the water, with occasional puffs of steam as they breathed. Once or twice a fin came up as a whale spun in the water.
Then, with a flick of one final tail, they were gone.
A few miles later we pulled in at the viewpoint on the headland above Bixby Bridge. Another small pod of whales was heading up the coast out to sea, but the real action was inshore, down below, where a pair of humpbacks were feeding. Water was churning as they spun around and around in tighter and tighter circles, diving and rising, feeding on what we guessed was a shoal of small fish.
Fins and flukes splashed out, and occasionally the heads of the whales rose out of the water.
Big Sur, California