Three Gray Whales: Six Hours

3 North Bound 0 South Bound 6 hours

Partly cloudy, calm flat ocean with a view so clear the exhaust smoke can be seen from the funnel (smokestack) on the cargo ship. Three whales seen in two sightings, an hour and fifteen minutes apart, then no whales for 5 hours which is a long stretch. It is still early for the northern migration which typically peaks mid -March but the whales were late getting down to the lagoons and it is good to see them seemingly, on a more typical pattern migrating north. We will see what happens as the season unfolds.

A healthy adult whale ! Yay!!! so good to see a full cervical area with no indentations, marking a loss of fat pad, this whale looks very healthy as it surfaced several times and it has an interesting white patch on the dorsal area which will be good for tracking in future sightings.

The above photos include a fishing boat “Island Fox” heading back to the Channel Islands Harbor, a marriage proposal (full image is at the end of this post). Ventura County Helicopter passed the point on a low alitude flyover. Ancient Giant Coreopsis in full bloom, shown here with the woody stump type stems.

Sea lions hauled out in Sea Lion Cove resting, on the volcanic rocks opposite of the pinnacles closest to shore, known as Sea Lion rock. At least three of the adult sea lions in these photos are extremely thin or emaciated. The California Wildlife Center monitors the population here since at least 1998 when the colony first began to boom during an el`Nino event . The colony numbers fluctuate over the seasons, year to year. You can see the Sea Lions from up top at Point Dume State Preserve just past the Whale Watching Observation Platform, like the visitors and tourists in the photo above who are taking selphies with the Sea Lions from the precarious overlook. Do not attempt to get down to the rocks at ocean level as it is illegal to harass the sea lions or cause any changes in their behaviors. Park Rangers are on duty 24/7 making routine patrols and on holidays, or busy weekends there can be 2-3 Rangers patrolling to keep the park safe. Stick to the trails and don’t try to disturb, feed or touch the wildlife.

Later in the afternoon someone was riding a Hydrofoil in and around Pirates Cove. While it its very exciting to see someone riding this electric surfboard, it is loud and goes 25+mph, much faster than the gray whales top speed of 5-10 mph. Definitely, not in line with allowing the safe, unobstructed passage of the cetaceans in the local waters off the Malibu Coast, as stated in the Marine Life Proclamation of 2014 by the Mayor and City Council. But enforcing such things is another issue entirely as the riders zip in and out from who knows where traveling at such a fast rate and its over before it gets started. However, for the whales, who are struggling and thin, it may keep them from coming in close and taking a break, conserving calories needed for energy, to make it back to the feeding grounds in Alaska. The whales face this increased human activity, in the water all the way along the migration route and we are lucky at Point Dume this is a rare occurrence. Let’s spread the word to leave these fun motorized and electric water sports for the other 8 months of the year and leave this area clear and safe for the whales.

Will You Marry Me?

A Beautiful Marriage Proposal Picnic set up with so much thoughtfulness, I hope she said YES! this hopeful groom-to-be thought of everything with this elegant and endearing display!

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