Weekly Report ~ March 27 – April 2, 2023
Gray Whale Calves Join Northbound Migration
Each year by mid-February, most, if not all, of this season’s gray whale calves have been born. These cow-calf pairs are the last to leave the lagoons giving the calves time to grow, including developing a blubber layer before beginning their first migration north to their feeding grounds. Traveling nearshore and we spotted our first northbound cow-calf pair this week.
Mega pods of long-beaked common dolphins continue to be observed feeding, socializing, and even stampeding. Witnessing hundreds of these dolphins racing, almost flying across the water’s surface, and passing southbound in front of the Dana Point Headlands was a highlight of the week.
One morning we hit a dolphin trifecta on our first trip with a very active long-beaked common dolphin north of the Dana Point Harbor and found a southbound offshore bottlenose dolphin further north up the coast. When we headed back south, we found a very relaxed pod of at least 20 Risso’s dolphins heading southeast off Monarch Bay.
We also saw a few Minke whales, an elephant seal, and even a sea turtle!