I’m going to save up some money to go whale watching this summer. :O!!!! 1 month ago
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OR MASSACHUSETTS, USA, THESE ARE 2 OF THE TOP 6 PLACES TO WHALE WATCH IN THE WORLD. THIS BIT OF INFORMATION JUST BRINGS ME A STEP CLOSER. 1 month ago
Whale watching trips are hit-and-miss when it comes to actually seeing whales. More times than not I don’t see a single whale. I still don’t count dolphins which are seen plentifully just about every time even though all the naturalists are quick to point out that dolphins are in fact a type of whale. The Voyager Excursions whale watching trip I took out of King Harbor in Redondo Beach, California on January 19, 2013, which was an unusually summer-like day, was a pleasant deviation from the norm. In addition to a humpback whale seen close to the harbor (I wrote a separate entry about it), when we got a few miles off shore our boat was surrounded by perhaps as many as a dozen fin whales in all directions (see the collage of photos I took of the fin whales). Most of these whales were not that close to the boat, and some were quite far, but that didn’t detract from the experience at all. There were three researchers from the local aquarium, all grad students I think, on the boat collecting data on the whales seen. It was the first time for two of them. Their leader cautioned that not every day is so easy for data collection.
Of course, the main reason I go on whale watching trips is not so much to see whales but to see pelagic species of birds that I can’t ordinarily see from shore. There was a decent number of birds though not a wide variety of them. Among the species I saw were black-vented shearwaters (hundreds of them), Cassin’s auklets, rhinocerous auklets, common murres, Bonaparte’s gulls and a single pomarine jaeger and a single brant. 3 months ago
I’m thinking this may be part of an Alaskan cruise. 6 months ago
I went on a whale watching trip aboard a Harbor Breeze cruise ship out of Long Beach, California on the morning of September 15, 2012. The Harbor Breeze trip was twice as expensive as the Voyager Excursions trips I previously took out of Redondo Beach ($50 vs. $25) and I didn’t like the boat as much, but at least it covered a different part of the Santa Catalina Channel with the possibility of seeing different marine life. As usual, my primary interest was not so much the whales but the possibility of seeing pelagic species of birds to add to the list of birds I have seen in Los Angeles County in 2012. It was extremely hot in the LA Basin this day so it was good to get out on the water where it was a little cooler. I wore my Reletex electronic band for motion sickness, which seems to help tremendously on short two to three hour boat trips although it didn’t prevent me from getting seasick on the fifteen hour trip I was on earlier this summer.
Anyway, there were lots of birds out on the water but mainly the usual stuff I would expect to see like Brandt’s cormorants, brown pelicans, western gulls among others. I did find one species to add to my year list, red phalarope, of which I saw one or possibly two among the dozens of red-necked phalaropes I encountered. The whales we were expecting to see were blue whales which are migrating this time of year although they had not been seen in the area in weeks. Since there was lots of krill in the water, the blue whale’s primary food source, it was still worth checking to see if they would come back into the area. We didn’t see any blue whales although the naturalist aboard the ship pointed out that dolphins, of which there were literally hundreds around us, are technically whales. What we did encounter, however, was a dead baby gray whale. Gray whales had already moved through the area much earlier during the summer, so the carcass we saw had likely been there for quite some time (see the photo I took). There was a rope tied around the whale’s tail; the naturalist suspected someone may have tried to tow it to shore when it was already dead… 7 months ago
I went on my first whale watching trip since last spring on August 25, 2012, a two and a half hour cruise on Voyager Excursions off the coast of Redondo Beach, California (see the collage of photos I took). For the third consecutive year, blue whales had been seen migrating south in the Santa Monica Bay. They were either passing through looking for krill, the tiny crustaceans they feed on, or there is in fact a lot of krill in the area that will keep them here a while.
It’s always a treat to see blue whales, but as usual the primary motivation for me going on whale watching trips is not the mammals but the birds. There were some pelagic species I was trying to get on my 2012 Los Angeles County year list. I didn’t spot as many birds as I was hoping, but I was not disappointed as I was able to get sooty shearwater and pomarine jaeger on my list, and it was cool seeing the jaeger chase an elegant tern near the boat.
The mammals we saw were a bonus. We saw lots of common dolphins riding close up alongside the boat. We saw a mola mola (aka Pacific sunfish) lazily floating near the surface of the water. The highlight, however, was seeing separately two blue whales. It was fun seeing them just beneath the surface and to notice the imprint they leave on the water like a footprint. One of them, which appeared to be larger than the boat, even came up with its mouth open and to think of the amount of water that it ingested at that moment was awe-inspiring. Everyone loves to get a view of the fluke (or tail) which comes out of the water just before a long dive, but the whales kept teasing us by almost popping their flukes out of the water only to stop short. Just before it was time to head back, one of the whales cooperating by letting us see its fluke… 8 months ago