From: Matt Ventimiglia
The Count on Monday:
We saw at least 8 gray whales, about 145 common dolphins, and 1 humpback whale
during the morning trip with 67 passengers.
We saw at least 7 gray whales, about 25 common dolphins, and two fin whales in
the afternoon, with 49 passengers.
Conditions: Calm seas (Beaufort scale 0), 1 ft swell; cloud cover: 5-10%.
Incredibly calm water and visibility for miles and miles. It was exceptional,
the best of our southern California winter days.
Some grays were in groups of at least 3, rolling closely together (possibly
mating). The humpback was seen lunge-feeding — exposing its head and mouth
(visibly inflated throat) at the surface only 25 yards from the boat.
(Spectacular!) Birds gathered above a large bait ball of small schooling fish.
Pelicans, some with bright breeding plumage, were seen diving in from above.
(Also spectacular!) Common dolphin were seen participating in this feeding
frenzy, along with a few sea lions.
Passengers included two school groups. 2nd to 5th grade. on a field trip from
Adventist Church schools in Simi Valley and Antelope Valley (about 40 children
total). For many school kids it was their first marine boat ride and
whale-watching experience. All seemed quite impressed. One lady tourist,
speaking with a pronounced French accent, was ecstatic and couldn’t stop
thanking Judy as she departed the boat.
Conditions: Mostly calm seas (Beaufort scale 1), 1-2 ft swell; Cloud cover
increased to 60-70% (mostly translucent high-altitude cirrus)
Frolicking grays again appeared to be mating (not sure). The most spectacular
sight on this trip was two sizable fin whales that approached directly towards
us to within 25-30 yards. The fin whales bowed together to dive under the boat
and we got a close up view into the paired blowholes. Then they slid
effortlessly into the sea beneath us. Awesome
Passengers came mostly from the local area with visiting relatives from
elsewhere. An older woman around 90 was celebrating her birthday, plus about a
dozen children — some preadolescents, others in their teens, and one small
canid ‘comfort animal’ seemed to handle the trip well, never a sound. All
seemed to enjoy the trip.
Thanks to Capt. Jason and his crew: Matt and Lindsay. Naturalists aboard: Judy
Willens and Matt Ventimiglia.
Special thanks from trainee Matt V. to CINC mentor Judy Willens for always
bringing good luck…!