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Gray Whale Migration along the San Diego coast
Thursday, 01/17/2013
Almost 2 months into the 2012-13 season.....

... and I've been on ~5 cruises!  But they have been amazing cruises!

In the 8 years that I have been a volunteer naturalist, January 5, 2013 was by far the B E S T whale sighting for me!


We were blessed with a Gray whale breach close to the boat that I saw from the very moment the whale left the water (normally I see part of it- as it's crashing back INTO the water)!  It was like it happened in slow motion.  Truly amazing - it gave me goosebumps!  


 And then to top it off, we were with a Mother and calf for quite some time.  A group of dolphins showed up and then the calf did a FULL SPYHOP!  Again- I was looking in the right spot at the right time to get the full show!  That sight placed a tear in my eye.   Perhaps the calf was curious about these small "creatures" (dolphins) swimming all around him/her and decided to take a closer look?  If only the whales could communicate with us!


The season in general has been one for the books- gray whale sightings on most of the cruises.  Risso's out in full force and even more sightings of Pacific White-sided dolphins.  



Posted by Leslie at 10:14 AM PST
Sharing a great e-book Trilogy for my whale loving friends... GIVEAWAY INFO

I have recently been introduced to an author, Kendall Grey, that is a wonderful writer and passionate ocean lover.  Her "Just Breathe" trilogy (Inhale, Exhale and Just Breathe) was recently wrapped up with the last book released January 2013. If you love whales, adventure, mystical lands and a love story, this is a MUST READ!  

In honor of this trilogy coming to an end- Kendall has decided to have a give-a-way for a 16 GB Kindle Fire HD *OR* $199 Transferred to your PayPal Account. Smile

Here is a link to the E-book on Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Just-Breathe-ebook/dp/B00AY0K0TC/ref=pd_ybh_3


About Kendall:  justbreathenovels.com   ------------  kendallgrey.com


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted by Leslie at 9:29 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 01/17/2013 10:16 AM PST
Saturday, 02/11/2012
2011 Season is by far the BEST in 6 years
Mood:  lucky

So I'm not much of a blog writer....    perhaps in another lifetime this would be a more active hobby of mine. Embarassed


Since the 2011-12 San Diego Gray Whale watch season started, I have been out on Hornblower cruises ~5 times.  Each time we were blessed with whale sightings - including Gray whales and Fin whales.  The sightings this season have been incredible! Breaching whales, Fins getting up close and personal.. you name it!

Hope everyone that reads gets an opportunity to see these amazing mammals in the wild one day.   


Happy Sightings,


Posted by Leslie at 7:17 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 02/11/2012 7:19 PM PST
Saturday, 03/26/2011
Wow- I finally made it out for a cruise!

This was only my 4th cruise this season--- wow, I know!   It turned out to be a beautiful day and successful in sighting whales.  Since it's toward the end of the season, the boat was not sold out- so I was able to spend some quality time with the passengers.  I met some college students from Germany, France & Switzerland.  And a family visiting from England.  I spoke with alot of kids- eager to see a whale for the first time.... and VOILA!

We came upon 3 Adult Gray whales.  They were very cooperative- coming close to the boat and letting us "watch" their party, um I mean, mating.   As Kim (the other volunteer on board) called it, they "Pec'd". (In other words, they showed us their pectoral fins as they turned and rolled - which is commonly part of the mating behavior).  

I think I'll make it out one more time (as a passenger) when Heather visits a week from today!  

Posted by Leslie at 7:03 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 03/26/2011 7:31 PM PDT
Saturday, 01/15/2011
Whales- Oh my! (Jan 15, 2011)
Mood:  happy

My first "official" cruise was a HUGE success!  I picked a picture perfect San Diego winter day to be on the ocean- in search of the Grays! 

The MORNING cruise resulted in 5 Adult gray whales and ~100 Common Dolphins.  The AFTERNOON cruise...  with a sold out boat (+300 passengers) and only 2 volunteers (!)- even with all the talking with the kids and adults  I managed to enjoy the sunshine.  Oh- and the whales --- ALOT of them!  10 in total.   At one point there were 6 traveling together- showing their flukes over and over again.  What a show they put on for us.  

Toward the end of the cruise a passenger asked me about the dolphins ---and no sooner did I say 'it's not too late' that the dolphins were swimming toward us!  About 200 Common dolphins joined us; riding the bow of the boat - which resulted in many smiles on the boat.  

Posted by Leslie at 6:42 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 01/24/2011 8:42 PM PST
Sunday, 12/12/2010
Let the 2010-11 Season begin!
Mood:  lucky

The 1st cruise of the 2010-11 season was a success!   Even with a gloomy day out on the Pacific Ocean, we came upon a single Gray Whale (most likely a pregnant female) and about 1000 Common dolphins.   What a great start. 

My next day out on the boat will be in early January. 

Posted by Leslie at 6:58 PM PST
Sunday, 05/30/2010
Summer whale watch season starts on June 17!
Mood:  happy
I'm thrilled to say that we officially have a summer whale watch season in San Diego!   Volunteers from the San Diego Natural History Museum (including me) will be on board H&M Landing's sea vessels.   We'll be in search of Blue, Fin and Humpback whales.

Posted by Leslie at 7:58 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 05/30/2010 8:06 AM PDT
Saturday, 11/21/2009
I spotted a whale today from shore!
Mood:  lucky

I just got back from a walk to the cove (Fletchers)....  after 30 minutes looking out at the ocean - I spotted a whale out near the horizon---  it breached 4 times!  It was most likely a humpback, but it could have been a gray whale.  

.....  The start of this season's whale watch is December 12th!   Can't wait to be back out on the boat. 

Posted by Leslie at 12:14 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 11/21/2009 12:18 PM PST
Sunday, 08/23/2009
Blue whales- Off the coast of San Diego!
Mood:  lucky

 What a beautiful day!  I was on H&M Landing's Ocean Odyssey boat- with ~53 passengers & 2 other Museum Whalers...  going out to sea in search of Blue Whales.   

 The morning started off overcast, but eventually the sun came out.  The water at times was like glass!   This helped us locate and view the whales... yes, whales!    We got a brief sight of a Humpback whale (I'll take credit for spotting this beautiful mammal!) and 1 Minke whale.  The Minke whale was kind enough to hang out with us for a few minutes- so unlike those minkes!  

Everyone was blessed to view RISSO'S dolphins - 2 groups (15-20, and ~10).  They were quite active- one even breached 2 times in a row! (Of course, I captured a picture of the 'splash' as it entered the water..) We also saw some Common Dolphins

2 Blue whales!  Wow, oh wow, oh wow!  To see these Blues from our coast is incredible.  We spent, what seems like, 1 hour with the 1st Blue.  His/her behaviour was unique... before each surface, we would see a circle of 'bubbling' water and then up ahead the whale would surface & breath.  It displayed this over and over- it was almost like it was 'announcing' the arrival.. letting us know where to point our eyes & cameras.  After awhile, we finally saw the fluke; then we moved on to watch the 2nd Blue.    This one was much larger!  It fluked a couple of times and came quite close to the boat.  Pretty cool!    We would have stayed with this one, but we had to venture on to visit the Coronados Islands. 

It was fun- talking with the passengers about the marine life we witnessed today.   We even had biofacts to share-  Blue Whale's Baleen plate (1) & jar of krill.  Everyone was amazed that these magnificant mammals eat something THAT small!  

I'm scheduled to go out again on September 19th... I can't wait! (It got canceled - oh well)

Posted by Leslie at 7:45 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 11/21/2009 12:19 PM PST
Saturday, 08/15/2009
ACS Blue whale watch- Channel Islands
Mood:  happy

Myself and a few friends from the Musuem Whalers group joined the American Cetacean Society members on a full day whale watch trip out of Santa Barbara to the Channel Islands (on the Condor Express)...

One word can describe it.... INCREDIBLE!!   A Minke whale, some common dolphins, and...  BLUE & HUMPBACK whales!   I was not expecting to see the Humpbacks-- and they were lunge feeding, breaching, fluking & pec slapping.  One of them gave a great show of pec slapping...  throwing the pecs up in the air- back and forth for about ~20 minutes!  And, we saw 2 breaches (of course, I missed the 'shot' and only captured the splash at the end).  The feeding behaviour was amazing.. lunge after lunge.. one time there were 2 humpbacks going in opposite directions, feeding right next to each other!   

Turned around to the other side of the boat, only to see a BLUE whale lunge feeding!   The abundance of krill was evident---these whales just didn't stop feeding!    Seeing a ~80 ft Blue whale with it's mouth gaping open was spectacular.   We came upon a mother & calf - something I had never seen before.   How cute!

All in all, we were blessed to see ~15-20 Blue whales, 20-25 Humpback whales, 1 minke whale & the dolphins. 

Heather is definitely going to join me on next summer's cruise!   

Posted by Leslie at 7:25 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 08/23/2009 7:42 PM PDT

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