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Thar She Blows: Whale Watching at Ease

February 20, 1988|ELLEN MELINKOFF

There are two ways to whale watch: by land and by sea. First, the easy (and cheapest) way: by land. Naturalists and park rangers at the Point Dume State Reserve in Malibu will be on hand Saturdays and Sundays through the end of March to help visitors spot gray whales and other marine life during the annual winter migration. With help from experts, families can see the mammals surfacing, diving and spouting their way along the coastline.

The view from the bluff of Point Dume is spectacular on a clear day, ranging from Palos Verdes to the Channel Islands and far to the north. Naturalists will have some binoculars available for visitors to use (bring your own if you have them), and occasionally the whales are visible to the naked eye. Naturalists will also hand out free literature and answer questions.

To reach Point Dume, take Pacific Coast Highway north to Westward Beach Road in Malibu. Turn left and follow the road to the parking lot, where a $4 parking fee is sometimes enforced. Naturalists will be on duty 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends. Information: (818) 888-3770.

From San Pedro 22nd Street Landing, weekend whale-watching trips are scheduled at 9 and 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The cost is $10; for seniors 62 and over and children 12 and under, the cost is $7. Trips are scheduled through April 3. Information: (213) 832-8304.

The Long Beach Belmont Pier boat departs at 11 a.m. and costs $9 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under. Trips are through April 3. Weekday trips are also available. Information: (213) 434-6781.

All trips last two to three hours and reservations are advised.

In addition, there are many whale-related activities this weekend at Dana Point Harbor. There will be whale watching, films on whales and other marine mammals, marine life exhibits, guided tide pool walks, U.S. Navy patrol boat tours and scuba gear and scrimshaw demonstrations. There will also be entertainment and children's activities.

Dana Point events are today and Sunday and continue weekends through March 6. There are continuous film showings 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Harpoon Henry's, Mariner's Village, Dana Point Harbor. Boat tours leave from the harbor patrol docks on the island side of Dana Harbor, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Activities are free. Information: (714) 498-2591.

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