It is so incredibly clear today, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it like this before. I went out on the Voyager this afternoon (I admit it was a bit chilly on the water) and was surprised at the intense detail and visibility.
Today’s adventure started out a little less promising than our others. No whales were sighted by the morning boat, but they did have a super-pod of dolphins. In the afternoon the wind was picking up so there were some small whitecaps through the swells were only 2-4 feet. The exceptional visibility played tricks on us, as we spotted what might have been some dolphin heading across Santa Monica Bay towards Pt. Dume, but as we turned out and approached, they disappeared completely.
No matter, it was early and we turned south towards Pt. Vicente, stopping briefly at buoy PV10 to look at the sea lions. Continuing south it was nearly 90 minutes into the trip when we spotted a huge bunch of birds off towards the horizon. Captain Gary mentioned that he saw dolphin below the birds and there was a lot of talk in the wheel house about whether it was birds or dolphins making the spashes. Finally the Captain turned the Voyager out towards Catalina to determine what it was. It was pretty clear after only a few minutes that it was a large pod of dolphins. Another ten minutes or so and we were traveling along at about six miles an hour with a huge pod of about 800 common dolphin pointed towards Pt. Dume.
They were feeding on the way, probably some small bait fish (I never caught site of them). We were in the middle of the group, many rode the pressure wake of the bow, others followed alongside the boat and still other surfed in the wake of the Voyager.
We followed along with them for 30 minutes, and luckily they were headed in the same direction we needed to go.
Honestly, I could just go out and watch dolphins all day. But we were already running kind of late as the Captain angled our journey to maximize our time with the dolphins. As luck would have it, we did find one Gray Whale on our way back into Santa Monica Bay, just opposite the wreck of the Dominator and we delayed our return to the slip for another fifteen minutes as we tried to get a good view of him (he was heading west).
Even without the sea life, it was an exceptional day for the views. From off San Vicente we could see Angel’s Gate, the full length of Santa Catalina all the way to the Hollywood sign and the occasional peek of the snowcapped mountains through the clouds.