For my birthday, my daughter thought we should go to San Diego.
She is an adventurous one, and a planner. (This makes it sooo easy for me). So the two of us flew to the coast and spent a few days adventuring as she had planned.
We walked through Balboa Park. We ate and shopped in the Gaslamp quarter. We spent a day on Coronado (more about that later). We went to the beach in La Jolla.
But a definite highlight of the trip was the day we sailed out to go whale watching. And please if you go to San Diego, you should definitely go out with these guys: https://nextlevelsailing.com/
They were great. The sailboat was incredibly beautiful. Seeing the whales was amazing. The whole day was indescribably wonderful.
I was fascinated and watched closely as the crew lifted the sails. (Maybe I could write off the cost of the trip as research. After all my main character in The Lies We Tell–which goes live in the next two or three weeks–must sail a boat for a short distance along the Southern English coast). Her sailboat is much smaller of course, but I got a taste of what she would see and hear and feel. I loved the whip and crack of the wind in the sails, the rolling and rocking of the deck as the waves beat against the hull. And the sky and the sea were breathtakingly expansive, in a way I don’t think you could ever get on land.
It did make me wonder, as we watched a rare Sunfish breach and the dolphins race along with us, and of course as the two blue whales crested and fluked, what would my characters see in the English channel. Since coming home I’ve looked into it a little. I’ve included many of the birds and animals along the coast. But in the sea, my heroine might see dolphins and porpoises. A Minke whale sighting is not uncommon in the English channel.
Now, Amelia doesn’t go far from the coast, but Sidonie, the main character in The Masks We Wear (Book three of the Illusions series, coming this fall) will be secretly crossing the channel into Napoleonic France. Maybe in the quiet of her night’s crossing, she should see a whale. After my birthday adventure, I’m inclined to give her that awe-inspiring experience.
I’d love to hear your experiences on the ocean. Or if you experience vicariously, what books have you read that have a good sailing scene in them?