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Weekly Report ~ July 24, 2023 – July 30, 2023

a dolphin jumping out of the water

This week’s sightings have been quite spectacular, including Blue Whales and Minke Whales, as well as thousands of dolphins. We were thrilled to spot a Blue Whale cow/calf pair feeding not far from the Dana Point Harbor. It’s wonderful to see the largest animal on the planet returning from the brink of extinction. Although still endangered, Blue Whale females are slowly recovering, as they can only give birth to a calf every 2 to 3 years. Most other Blue Whales we observed were heading north at a steady pace, in search of their favorite food – krill, a shrimp-like crustacean measuring on average 2 inches in length.

We also saw pods of 30 or more Risso’s dolphins further offshore, as they prefer deeper waters, especially near a continental shelf edge like we have here in the southern California bight. Despite being deep divers and able to have dive times for up to 30 minutes, they were very active, often breaching close to our vessels. We also spotted numerous offshore bottlenose dolphins, likely close to a hundred, heading both north and south, often at a fast pace. With many tiny calves in these groups, they were a delight for our passengers to watch. Watching a darling baby bottlenose dolphin keeping up with their pod while swimming beside its mom is quite a sight to behold!

Long-beaked common dolphins were also frequently seen, with nursery pods numbering in the hundreds. When we come across one of these pods, our passengers are amazed at their agility as they seem to race each other to bow ride with their calves alongside! Southern California is home to the largest concentration of Common Dolphins in the world, with a population estimate of about half a million calling the SoCal home.

Finally, we witnessed schools of tuna feeding with various sea birds on fin bait. We could even see these tiny fish as the tuna were in pursuit and chased them completely out of the water. Overall, it was an incredible week of sightings. it was an incredible week of sightings.

a man riding a wave on a surfboard in the ocean a dolphin jumping out of the water a dolphin jumping out of the water a dolphin jumping out of the water an animal swimming in the water a bird flying over a body of water a whale jumping out of the water a whale jumping out of the water a whale jumping out of the water

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