Weekly Report ~ September 25, 2023 – October 1, 2023
Blue Whales, Fin Whales, Bryde’s Whales, Humpback Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, and Common Dolphin, plus a Frigate Bird!
We had a great week with SIX different cetacean species! Two Blue Whales with one of these leviathans seen feeding just a few miles off our coast. We were very excited when in the distance we saw the spout of a larger baleen whale. We raced up the coast and had several excellent breathing cycles with the largest animal known to have lived on this planet; a Blue Whale. Although it never fluked, its huge ice cream cone shaped blow and its large back was clearly visible to all. The sun broke through the clouds and we were able to see that turquoise water as the Blue Whale rose to the surface – hence the name, Blue Whale. Their common name comes not from the color of the skin but from the color of the water as the sun reflects on their massive bodies. A second Blue Whale was seen off San Mateo Point earlier in the week.
On one trip after watching a Bryde’s Whale, Captain Chase located the Humpback Whale seen earlier. As this Humpback Whale was heading north, it passed a kelp patty. Captain Chase mentioned he had hoped this whale would have stopped to play in the kelp which is known as “kelping.” As if the whale heard our Captain, it turned completely around and headed directly for the kelp patty as if to say “Okay, this is what you want me to do!” We watched this juvenile Humpback Whale spy hop like it was getting a kelp facial. While it rolled around displaying its pectoral fins and flukes, it would surface, blow, and go back to the kelp displaying more playful antics! Everyone was enthralled as we watched this Humpback Whale frolicking in the kelp for close to 10 minutes!
We encountered a fast-moving southbound Fin Whale that would surface for only a few blows before submerging for 10 minutes. We followed this whale for several miles as it would usually appear quite a ways from our boat. The Fin Whale was bookended by two large pods of Common Dolphin at the beginning and end of our trip.
A few miles offshore we found both Bottlenose and upon giving our Ocean Adventures catamaran a little throttle, the Bottlenose entertained us by leaping high out of the water. Did you know one of the signs of mammalian intelligence is the ability to expend energy just for fun? That’s certainly what these highly intelligent Bottlenose Dolphin were doing! A Frigate Bird was even seen by one of our fishing vessels not far fro m the harbor. Abundant life was everywhere this week which is just another reminder why Dana Point is the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World!