Today I went out on my second whale watch tour out of Redondo Sportfishing – I’m still in training as a docent, and a little shy about taking the mic, but it was a fabulous trip in spite of my lack of narrative input!
The seas this morning were glassy smooth, with nary a cloud in the sky (okay, I’m a little sunburned).
The trip started with the promise of a whale that was spotted off Manhattan Beach and as we searched for it we came across a spirited pod of about 200 short-beaked common dolphins. They swam with the boat, as you can see from the photos below (click for larger 100k versions), the clear water made for excellent viewing of them swimming below us.
Though the Manhattan Beach whale never appeared, the seas were absolutely packed with mammals & birds today, as we came across a few other dolphins (I think pacific white sided). There were flocks of gulls, pelicans, terns & skimmers which indicated that there were schools of fish nearby. We saw solo California sea lions among the feeding birds in addition to their usual haul-out spots on the bell buoys. For the first time today I saw dozens together in a raft with their fins held high to thermo-regulate.
After passing Whale Rock at Pt. Vicente, it was time to turn around and head back to the pier (albeit leisurely) where we continued to watch the fantastic birds. The wind changed by now and there was a bit of a chop on the water’s surface, which was a wonderful deep blue which contrasted the distant white-capped Mount Baldy and Sierra Nevadas. And there they were, as everyone seemed to be talking themselves being satisfied with the dolphins, two Pacific gray whales blew about a hundred yards off our bow. They took a few breaths, went under and were off to Baja. I got a lame photo of one of them but we did get a really good view of their barnacles and their glossy gray color.
I’m positively addicted to this and plan to go out as many weekends as I can during migration season. For anyone else who’d like to go, it’s a pretty good deal as entertainment goes – $17 per person for a three hour tour on weekends and only $13 on weekdays.