Thousands flock to view wayward whales near capital

Tag: 夜上海论坛CH

first_imgWEST SACRAMENTO – Thousands of spectators took advantage of the first weekend since two whales took a wrong turn and swam 90 miles inland to California’s capital to catch a glimpse of the deep sea creatures. The wayward pair – dubbed Delta and Dawn by the state’s lieutenant governor – did not disappoint. Crowds shrieked every time the mother and calf surfaced for air. “I see it, I see it, I see it,” screamed 4-year-old Eliyas Charles, wide-eyed and pointing at the water from atop his grandfather’s shoulders. “That black spot was the whale. I can see it.” “Our plan is to wait out the weekend,” Wilson said. “Of course, if they start moving, we’re ready to mobilize.” A marine mammal rescue crew plans to resume efforts Monday to lure the pair by playing recorded sounds of other humpbacks feeding. A similar strategy worked in 1985 with a humpback nicknamed Humphrey, which swam in the delta for nearly a month before returning to the Pacific. But the situation near Sacramento is more complicated, experts say. It involves a mother and calf, rather than a single whale, and the mother’s concern for her baby may explain why she hasn’t responded to the scientists’ efforts to appeal to her stomach. If scientists have not made progress by Tuesday, they plan to begin herding the animals down river with a gauntlet of 50 boats that would provide a less-pleasing underwater soundtrack of banging on pipes. Whether the animals begin moving on their own, the trek promises to be complicated, Wilson said. The whales will have to negotiate four potential roadblocks – the pylons of four bridges – to reach the San Francisco Bay. Then they will have to swim under the Golden Gate Bridge to return to the ocean. Some aren’t looking forward to saying goodbye. An estimated 10,000 people have visited the port’s banks over the past three days, according to West Sacramento police. “It’s just so neat, it’s right in our backyard,” said Karen Wilhelm, 41, of Sacramento, who is studying wildlife biology at American River College. “People are coming from all over,” Wilhelm said. “They’re quite the attraction.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The dusty riverbank along the Port of Sacramento took on the air of a carnival Saturday as cops directed traffic into makeshift parking lots, vendors sold ice cream and lines formed outside Port-o-Potties. The whales seemed content to command the crowd’s attention. For the fifth day since they were first spotted in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the two mostly swam looping half-mile laps around the port, where the sprawling inland waterway essentially comes to an end. Scientists have been hoping the whales – which both appear to have been wounded by a ship’s propeller – would begin swimming westward toward the Pacific Ocean on their own. But Carrie Wilson, a biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game, said experts are content with the animals remaining in the isolated port area for the weekend since heavy recreational boat traffic in the delta could complicate rescue efforts. The whales swam in peace with the help of a Coast Guard escort on Saturday. The Coast Guard enforced a 500-yard safety zone around the whales and authorities closed the north port channel and a nearby public boat ramp for the weekend. last_img read more