Weekly Report ~ April 24, 2023 – April 30, 2023
Fin Whale Mania including a Cow/Calf Pair, Gray Whales, a Humpback Whale, and a Minke Whale!
Fin whales have been seen eight of the last nine days, including a cow/calf pair where the baby whale appeared to be playing with the dolphin very close to shore just north of the Dana Point Headlands. On multiple days, as many as four fin whales surrounded our vessels, passing very close as they surfaced alongside and swan under our boats. Many of these whales have been feeding on massive krill off the coast.
Captain Tommy on the Dana Pride spotted a very active Humpback whale over 8 miles off the coast. This humpback whale was extremely active tail throwing for over 15 minutes and then swam out to see. Plus, Minke whales have been spotted!
Gray whales, cow/calf pairs, are still passing through, and some even stop to “play” close to the shore north of the San Clemente Pier and Victoria Beach. These curious calves spy hop, roll showing their flukes, and lift their heads high out of the water as they swim close to their mom while the pair travels north.
There have also been impromptu feeding frenzies with long-beaked common dolphins, sea lions, and sea birds. Watching a feeding frenzy with dive bombing the California Brown pelicans is quite a spectacle. These birds can consume more than 4 pounds of fish per day! Various pods of offshore bottlenose dolphins have been in the area. Usually very active, they engage with our boat, love bow-riding and surfing the wake behind us, often breaching several feet in the air. One day as we were heading offshore to see several fin whales, we came across a very relaxed pod of 20-30 Risso’s dolphins 5 miles out.
Throughout the week, we saw several Mola mola and, at times, watched as they fed on the plentiful Velella Velella or By-the-Wind Sailors.
Fin whales, Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, a Minke Whale, Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, sea lions, plus the still-present By-the-Wind Sailors made for another fantastic week on the water.