Every week, Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching provides the Dana Point Times and San Clemente Times a report on the week’s whale and dolphin sightings from naturalist Laura Lopez, in addition to a weekly log.
Here is Lopez’s report for the past week:
The majority of Gray Whales continue to be northbound with one juvenile southbound pair observed and all have been spotted close to shore.
As many as five fin whales at a time have been feeding off our coast from one to seven miles out. These “Greyhounds of the Sea” are likely feeding on the abundance of anchovy schooling between 200-400 feet below the surface. Diving for about six to eight minutes between surface intervals, often circling as they feed. School groups and passengers on regular whale watch trips have been able to see the second largest animal on the earth. On average in the northern hemisphere, fin whales are 60-80 feet long and weigh between 140,000-170,000 pounds with the calves born at about 16 feet long and 4,000 to 6,000 pounds!
The Minke whales were displaying the typical Minke behavior, changing course often between surfacing.
Small pods of 20-30 offshore bottlenose dolphin have been seen almost every day. Late one afternoon, there was a massive feeding frenzy with thousands of animals including long-beaked common dolphin, sea lions, pelicans and other sea birds 2.3 miles outside the harbor. We watched as the dolphin were herding and feeding on anchovies, while the pelicans dive bombed the bait ball to join them in the feast. As these pelicans would surface, gulls were hovering over them trying to try to steal the fish right out of their pouches. The school of fin bait tried to take shelter under our vessel without much success.
We ended the day with a spectacular dolphin stampede as they headed west out to sea five miles off Aliso Canyon.
After the many recent storms, sea lions are continuing to take shelter in the Dana Point Harbor and can be seen and heard as they are aggregating in large groups on various docks. One passenger exclaimed, “It looks like a sea lion convention!”
Here is the latest Whale Watching Log from Dana Wharf Whale Watching:
March 17 – 2 Gray Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin
March 16 – 8 Gray Whales, 1 Fin Whale, Pacific Whitesided Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin
March 15 – No Trips Due to Weather
March 14 – 9 Gray Whales, Pacific Whitesided Dolphin, Common Dolphin
March 13 – 12 Gray Whales, Common Dolphin
March 12 – 5 Gray Whales
March 11 – 1 Fin Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin
March 10 – Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin
March 9 – 11 Fin Whales, Common Dolphin
March 8 – 3 Fin Whales, 1 Minke Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin
Discussion about this post