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Weekly Report ~ December 19-24, 2022

animal on the water

Mega Pod of Common Dolphin Seen for Days!

For five consecutive days, we likely saw the same Mega Pod of long-beaked common dolphin numbering in the thousands off our coast.  This pod has been enjoying feeding the bountiful bait fish, which is joined by hundreds of sea lions and various sea birds.  The sheer magnitude and density of animals in our encounters have been impressive!  Plus, some days, fin or humpback whales fed with them.  At times, the dolphin would engage with us and approach our vessels racing through the water while frequently changing directions in what seemed like a choreographed symphony.  A humpback whale even breached in the middle of a massive feeding frenzy!  These highly social animals could be heard communicating with each other using clicks and whistles made by pressing air through their blowholes.  Scientists believe each dolphin has a unique whistle called a ‘signature whistle’, used to identify an individual just like humans have given names.

Patches ~ the local So Cal cetacean celebrity, a leucistic offshore bottlenose dolphin, visited us mid-week with his pod of 15-20 others heading south off San Clemente about 5 miles out.  Early one morning, a pod of about 20 Risso’s dolphins cruised south off the Dana Point Headlands in a “chorus line” formation, diving to feed.  Later in the week, we spotted an awesome pod of at least 40-50 very active Risso’s dolphins, including calves. This appeared to be a mixed pod with a few bottlenoses and even a long-beaked common dolphin all traveling together. There were several breaches and tail slaps!

We ended the week with two pairs of southbound adult Gray whales seen on the same day.
a whale jumping out of the water animal on the water a whale jumping out of the water a man swimming in a body of water a whale jumping out of the water