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Gray Whale Migration along the San Diego coast
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
Sunday, 06/07/2009
End of the 2008-09 Season

The 2008-09 San Diego Whale watch season ended last month.... It was an amazing one, for sure!  More fin whales than I have ever seen!

Check back in January 2010 for the next season's blog. 

I will be reporting on the amazing day trip to watch BLUE WHALES off the Channel Islands toward the end of August, 2009.  


Posted by Leslie at 3:22 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 06/07/2009 3:27 PM PDT
Saturday, 03/07/2009
Sierra Club trip to the Los Coronados Islands
Mood:  incredulous

Wow- what a day!  I joined a group of Sierra Club members on the "Sea Adventure 80" boat.  We traveled out of San Diego harbor to the Los Coronados Islands.  Along the way we encountered gray whales (17 in total) and dolphins.   

We saw a whale breach 2 times, dolphins swimming under the boat (exhilerating!), and a group of 6 adult whales just 50 feet away from the boat!   They were obviously very comfortable with us because they were just hanging out! Beautiful showing of the blow holes, barnacles and even lice! I put the camera down to just enjoy the moment.

Once we got close to the islands, my focus turned to the beauty of the landscape- birds, seals, sea lions & dolphins.  Absolutely beautiful! 

The highlights of my day was the breach and the breathtaking views of the 6 whales. 

Posted by Leslie at 8:39 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 03/07/2009 8:52 PM PST
Saturday, 02/21/2009
Dolphin Day

It was a beautiful morning on the Pacific Ocean...  I spent it with 4 other Whalers and about 290 passengers!  I met people from Indiana, L.A., Colorado...  

We didn't find any whales, BUT - we enjoyed the show from ~500 common dolphins and were blessed to see ~10 Risso's dolphins.  We were located south and had a great view of the Los Coronados Islands.

Posted by Leslie at 5:36 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 02/21/2009 5:45 PM PST
Monday, 02/16/2009
the calm before the storm..

The approaching winter storm did not stop me from going out on the afternoon cruise!  I guess I wasn't alone.. there were ~300 people on the boat! 

It was *very* cold but the seas were nice.   We came upon hundreds of Common dolphins that put on a spectacular show!  Leaping out of the water- spinning around & splashing back to the water- it was thrilling!

The only whale we spotted was a Minke...  small and difficult to see. Nevertheless, it was a whale!

~ The storm... it came in over the night and pounded us on Monday. The cruises were cancelled, no big surprise. 


Posted by Leslie at 6:00 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 02/16/2009 6:16 PM PST
Saturday, 02/07/2009
2 days... with whales & dolphins
Mood:  happy

Last weekend (Saturday, 1/31/09): 

I went out on both cruises .. and at the end of the day, we saw a total of 8 whales! It was a nice day on the water. 

The big surprise happened at the end of the afternoon cruise. We came upon a trio of adult gray whales that were surrounded by various sailboats and a moter boat (~10).  They clearly were not happy with the attention. 



All of a sudden, the whales surfaced RIGHT NEXT TO the bow of the Adventure!   Whoaaa... the captain immediately backed up the boat and we left the area. 




Here's a moment from earlier in the day...  we had great visibililty!






TODAY'S morning cruise:

... a 'typical' (but not common) winter storm day in San Diego didn't stop the Adventure Hornblower from going out in search of whales & dolphins.  It was actually quite beautiful at sea - the dark clouds hanging over Point Loma & the city- seeing the rain showers coming down.  The Coronados Islands were lit from the sunshine for awhile, and then covered in dark clouds.  Amazing!

There were only 80 passengers, so plenty of rail space for everyone when we came upon 2 juvenile whales.  The were the usual unpredictable 'teenagers'....  surfacing, then down for 10 minutes- surface again, fluke and only stay down for 3 minutes- only to show up on the other side of the boat.   Regardless, I think everyone enjoyed seeing the show. 

We also had some Common dolphins visit us to ride the bow waves.  FUN!  I have sea legs, but being out on the seas during a 'storm' sure is a workout.  I collapsed for a long nap when I got home.     I'm looking forward to next weekend!  

Posted by Leslie at 6:50 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 02/07/2009 7:35 PM PST
Sunday, 01/18/2009
Another beautiful day!

We sighted 4 gray whales today.  2 were traveling together and gave us a good view.. consistently snorkeling and showing flukes.  At one point, they surfaced very close to the ship...  and we were able to hear the sound of the blows. 

 It was a beautiful day on the water and I met some nice people! 

Posted by Leslie at 6:33 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 01/18/2009 6:44 PM PST

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