Gray Whale 2
Common Dolphin 2000
Gray Whale 1
Fin Whale 2
Common Dolphin 2000
It was a cool clear day, seas were calm, little ripple, and slow easy shallow
swell made for ideal cruising.
Then with the on shore snow capped mountains as our back drop, … it doesn’t get
much better than this.
It was a boat load of folks, from kids to seniors, and good representation from
across the country and the planet.
Our first encounter was of the day was a nice pod of Common Dolphin, always a
great greeter and intro to the Channel's mammals. Dolphins have a special place
in all of our hearts, and the folks were up to the rails in a flash, (heh, heh,
yes with cameras in hand), oohhhs and ahhhs of happy fun to see, for many,
their first, dolphin live and in the wild sighting.
Following a nice session with them we were off to Anacapa looking of Grays. We
rounded the beautiful arch, rich in clarity of the oh so crisp day. Some Sea
Lions and a couple of Harbor Seals were up on the rocks near the arch, but most
of them were on down the back side a bit on one of the little beaches. The
folks were still in great joy in all of this.
Yet again, much further along the back (south) side of AI, we came on another,
this time a large pod of Common Dolphin. Same thing, folks were having great
fun scoping out these very active and entertaining little cetaceans. Fun time
with them, as we pulled away, the dolphin fell in to surfing our wake. Folks
cameras were filling up their cards.
Having rounded AI, we headed West, now on the North side of Santa Cruze Island.
Cruising by Scorpion Harbor, we saw the early stages of construction setting
up to build the new pier there. Shore cranes were up and other equipment were
laid out on the shore.
Not far west of Scorpion, a couple of Gray Whales, were going about their
migrating business, popping up well behind us. We must have past right over
them. Swinging a slow 180, we came back to follow them. Yep, migrating was the
task of the day, Several breathing cycles and a dive, several breathing cycles
and a dive, etc., “We're heading to Baja!!" Yet, they were nice enough to
offer up a couple of tail flukes. As we know, Grays are not that generous with
these, so the folks were delighted, to say the least.
A nice smooth cruise back to Ventura, delivered one very nice Whale Watch for
Seas were even calmer than the morning, another full boat loaded with
enthusiastic folks in the hunt for Whales.
This time it was a Gray Whale that greeted us to the channel. On approaching it
we began to question our own original call out of the identity of this Whale.
Sure enough, it soon became clear that we had not one, but two whales and not
Gray, rather we had two Finback Whales, the second largest of all animals only
to the great Blue Whale.
These two Fins were in sync with one another cruising along mid channel in
between the shipping lanes where lots of Krill like to hang out. Although squid
and schooling fish are a large part of their diet, Krill is also on their menu.
But they seemed to be heading some where, not feeding at this time. We did get
a couple of flukes out of these two, but like the Blues, they are rather stingy
with doing any great display of their tail. So the folks got a double treat,
seeing Fin Whales this late in the season, but also these two offering up a
couple of tail shots as well. NICE!!!
Moving on, Capt. Luke, took us out to Anacapa Island, and a gentle turn around
the Arch and viewing of some of the Sea Lions and a coupe of little Harbor
Seals, and on to the little beach where many of them had hauled out to warm
Turning south south west, as if we were off to San Nicolas Island, out we went
out side the Channel. It was not long for us to come on a huge pod of Common
Dolphin, feeding on a feast. The sea was all a-churn for them, just below the
surface, thus no birds were in sight. Easily 1600 or more were in here churning
about an acre and a half of the surface. THIS was a joice sighting for the
folks. Several were happy with the trip thus far, and would have been happy to
call it a day the display was so cool.
Still we had no Grays on our sighting chart, so off we were for the Grays. West
was the idea, but no grays were to be seen, so turn south south east deeper
into the Pacific.
Nada, so reverse to north north west heading to the AI Passage where some of
them may be passing through. What do ya know, right about where we turned
deeper into the Pacific we came on our Gray. This one too was on the Mission to
Baja, but was steady as she goes staying on or very near the surface as we
paced her. Hanging on our port side, folks got a lot of good looks at this one,
none of its dives were very deep and it popped up to the surface readily. If it
was not on the surface we could see the turquoise image just below.
Sun was going down, not yet setting but getting close so it was time to head
Folks had all settled in for the long ride home, some dosing off, as the pair
of Marine Cummings found their favored RPMs taking us for home.
About half way for port, the boat slowed, for something special, … turned and
faced the setting sun over Santa Cruz Island, easing to a stop. Most of us
thought the skipper was giving us a nice treat of a nice setting sun, and true
enough it was a nice sun set, … but the special was a couple getting engaged at
sea with that rich setting sun as the back drop.
Skipper Luke is a softy, dontchya think?? It WAS and nice special treat for the
coupe and the rest of us thought so as well.
Folks on both trips were from all over, China, Brazil, Canada, Wisconsin,
Pittsburg PA, among many others, including several locals taking visiting
relatives out for a nice Whale Watch, … well they did not disappoint on this
Capt. Luke, at the helm with Jackie in the Galley, and Holly as crew and much
of the narration with the Captain.
Long time colleague and buddy Debbie Shelly was the other Naturalist with me.
As most of you know, ALWAYS fun to be out there with Debbie.
Catchya on the water soon,
Ken Tatro 🐋 🐬
Gentle winds, mellow seas, and always,
… a fresh breath of salty air, … to each of ya.