Chasing Giants

Monday, July 18, 2011 - 10:13am

Take a ride on a whale-watching boat as it pursues the world's largest animals.

It's very easy for Captain Tom Bernot to pinpoint the moment he became interested in whales.

"I was 7-years-old, and it was a humpback whale that came right over to my grandfathers boat when we were fishing, and he was watching us," he says.

It's fitting all these years later he's helping others share that experience.

Bernot is at the helm of San Francisco Whale Watching Tour's "Kitty Kat".

On board are several dozen visitors hoping he can deliver a blue whale.

Bernot heads 20 miles outside the Golden Gate, into the bumpy waters of the Gulf of the Farallons.

"There's a lot of time looking at the horizon looking for spout, that's the only way you're going to find them," he says.

In the last few weeks Bernot has seen a steady run of migrating blue whales.

Now he follows their trail.

Suddenly there is a blast of water in the distance and a tail breaking the surface.

Soon, a pair of humpback whales pull next to the boat.

With a slew of photos of water spouts and an occasional tail the visitors went home, a bit seasick but happy.

"All I can say is it was worth coming out and taking the journey to see it and if you don't follow your dreams, no one's going to do it for you," says tourist Barbara Shanko.

That's a dream Bernot knows well, one he gets to relive every time he goes to work.

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