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:
We have had several encounters with up to four and even five fin whales. The highlight of the week was the Dana Wharf eight-hour Ultimate Whale Watch, which began with a cloudy, hazy morning with three fin whales feeding off the Dana Point Headlands. The brilliant contrast of the fin whales’ tall blows against the dark skyline was stunning. These whales were clearly feeding on krill, as we could see the chunky pink/reddish whale poop floating on the surface.
We then traveled offshore and found two more fin whales with one surfacing just a few feet off our bow. We ended the day north of the Dana Point Harbor with four fin whales feeding. Our last encounter had two of the whales on our port side and the other two on our starboard side. All four whales were surfacing and blowing almost simultaneously very close to the bow of the Ocean Adventures. One of our passengers even said we were a whale sandwich! Fin whales have a simple diet of small fish, krill, and crustaceans.
This week we also had Minke whale sightings. We never know when we’re going to see a Minke whale. They are the smallest baleen whale in North American waters and are classified as the North Pacific Minke whale. Scientists believe we have a resident Minke population off our coast and while there are more sightings in the summer and fall, they can be seen year-round.
Northbound gray whale cow/calf pairs and singles continued to be seen. Nearing the end of the Gray Whale Season, most of the gray whales will be on their way returning to their feeding grounds for the summer. Once the cow/calf pairs reach the feeding ground and the calf learns to feed itself, the pair will separate, and the calf will be on its own. Over the years, a gray whale has been sighted in every month of the year off the southern California coast.
Don’t miss the next Dana Wharf Pelagic Bird Trip led by David Pereksta on May 12 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Use the following link for more information: danawharf.com/whale-watching/pelagic-bird-watching.
Dana Point Film Festival is an Oceans Film Festival, focused on marine life and the human relationship with the magnificent wonder. This event will take place Thursday through Sunday, May 4-7. This four-day festival focuses on documentary filmmaking that features conservation, preservation, education, and, as well as ocean adventure, and some big wave surf films. DPFF will include a community evening outdoor movie series, cultural events, including ocean art, musical guests, educational elements, speaker series, and an awards presentation with globally recognized talent. Find out more here: danapointfilmfestival.org/dana-point-film-festival/
Here is the latest Whale Watching Log from Dana Wharf Whale Watching:
April 27 – 15 Fin Whales including 1 Cow-Calf pair, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, 12 Mola Mola
April 26 – 13 Fin Whales, 2 Gray Whales including 1 Cow-Calf pair, Risso’s Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Mola Mola
April 25 – 9 Fin Whales, 2 Gray Whales 1 Cow-Calf pair, 1 Humpback Whale, 2 Mola Mola
April 24 – 14 Fin Whales, Common Dolphin, Mola Mola
April 23 – 24 Fin Whales, 5 Gray Whales including 2 Cow-Calf pairs, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, 4 Mola Mola
April 22 – 10 Gray Whales including 5 Cow-Calf pairs, 2 Fin Whales, Common Dolphin, 3 Mola Mola
April 21 – 12 Gray Whales including 6 Cow-Calf pairs, Bottlenose Dolphin
April 20 – 3 Gray Whale Cow-Calf pairs, Common Dolphin, Mola Mola
April 19 – 10 Gray Whales, including 4 Cow-Calf pairs, 2 Fin Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Mola Mola
April 18 – 5 Fin Whales, 2 Gray Whales, including Cow-Calf pair, Common Dolphin