I think many people probably have a favorite animal. One of my grandmothers loved butterflies; I had an aunt who loved owls, and another who's into koalas. My son's mother likes hummingbirds and dragonflies.
I like eagles and dolphins. Eagles are majestic and noble, dolphins beautiful. So when I heard that one of the shore excursions on our cruise provided the opportunity to see both, in the wild, I signed us up for it pronto.
I was not disappointed.
From the small town of Avalon, on Catalina Island, we took a zodiac tour. In addition to seeing cormorants and herons and harbor seals, we got to see both of my favorite animals.
I knew something was up when our "captain" cut the engine in front of a sheer cliff. I looked up and saw the signature white dots, the heads of bald eagles. Not one, but two nesting eagles. The still camera couldn't zoom enough, and while the video camera could, the rocking of the boat made footage difficult. You could see them with the naked eye, but they were even more amazing when viewed through the binoculars the captain and guide passed out. Here's what I was able to capture:
Then we headed a mile or more offshore in search of dolphins. Before long we were surrounded by about a hundred of them--seriously, no exaggeration, probably a hundred. Many came near the zodiac and seemed to enjoy swimming in its wake. This is probably as close as I'll ever get to dolphins in their own habitat, and it was worth everything I paid.