Happy St Patricks Day 32 Gray Whales in 18 Sightings

32 Northbound 0 Southbound 10 hrs 1 EW 

 18 sightings on St Patricks Day, the 17th of March 2018!  Whale counting and observations started with a Great Egret perched on the fence along the walk in, hunting from above.

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Three gray whales traveling through so fast the blow mist is still on the surface of the water as one is sounding for a deep dive, with the other two keeping pace. The center whale has a distinct identification mark on the right side.

2018-03-17-three-gray-whales-pod-pt-dume-7208Four gray whales on the northern migration, one at the surface exhalation blowing, one under water glowing and two behind. This quad pod is traveling through the Point Dume Preserve Marine Sanctuary  migrating to Alaska.

2018-03-17-four gray-whales-pod-pt-dume-7131One gray whale changed directions in the underwater canyon area in the middle of a larger group of 4-5 whales in a mating courtship before heading northbound with the group above.  The lighter color of this whale is due to scaring from when the barnacles and whale lice fall off  leaving white marks behind. This whale was trackable from a few miles away as it crossed the Santa Monica Bay and reached the transect area.

2018-03-17-gray-whale-glow-underwater-pt-dume-7262One gray whale  spyhopped as another whale continued on and traveled through.

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Here is the outstretched fluke of one whale with the blow of another whale right before these two switched places being submerged and above the water in a very active courting group.2018-03-17-gray-whales-fluke-blow-mating-pt-dume-7364

Every day there are plane flyovers and this day there was four at once in a vintage air show exercise passing over the point in the late afternoon as whales continued the courting and mating behaviors without interruption this time.

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Gray whale blow glowing in the soon to be setting sun in gusty winds and choppy seas.

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What do you see in this cloud as the sun was setting? A rabbit, a heart or a seated teddy bear with button limbs? or all of the above? I see a seated bunny rabbit looking west, holding a heart with a hearts shaped tail, legs, wings and ears 🙂

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Gray Whales Traveling North/South in Pairs/Trios and The SpaceX Falcon 9 PAZ Launch Seen at Dawn

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Early morning launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 PAZ Mission seen along the coast as the Gray Whales continue their migration north to Alaska and south to the lagoons in Mexico.

2018-02-22-ID mark-gray-whale-pt-dume-221810 Northbound 3 Southbound Whales Today  7 hours 

The 1st sighting included an interesting identification mark on the right dorsal hump of one whale in a group of three traveling north bound low profile.  Sighting #6  traveled north slowly for over an hour,  also group of three whales interacting, feeding, back floating and gliding thru the waves.

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Blueberry Smoothie,Wildflowers and Gray Whales

Wildflowers remain in abundance with new varieties coming in to bloom as other ones fade.  Sunlife Organics is a local fresh juice and smoothie shop on the way in to Pt. Dume. My current favorite is the Vanilla protein smoothie with blueberries. This shake gives me enough energy and stamina to spot and count the sometimes elusive gray whales that migrate along the coast of Pt Dume. Today was a good day with calm waters and blue skies.  I counted 22  whales and one cow/ calf pair in  7.5 hrs . All of the whales today were in close and stayed for 20 minutes or more at various stops along the viewing area. One pair of whales were small (yearlings), they rolled and swam over each other playfully for 30 min or more before moving on. Another sighting was a very active trio which stayed 175 yrs off shore  for over an hour.  One smaller juvenile whale stayed for over two hours changing directions heading north then south, resting several times completely layed flat out on top of the water floating quietly and gliding through the area slowly using its flippers to propel itself rather than the fluke.  Several groups of bottlenose dolphins came through northbound and southbound at different times today.  The water so clear you could  see them moving through under the water. At times they swam with the whales and interacted then moved on quickly.

Blue Skies Gray Whales

After several days of choppy, rough white capped  water making it nearly impossible to spot gray whales let alone the blow spouts, today the sky was blue, the ocean was calmer, the hills and mountains along the PCH are alive and carpeted with lush bright green mixed with bursts of bright orange and yellow  wild sun flowers in full bloom.  At the ocean along the shore you can see from nearly any viewing site the gray whales are migrating in both directions,north and south. It was a busy day counting and observing with 90% visability mild temperature of 64 degrees and strong winds as the day went on. The whale behavior today was varied from the whale photographed above with its head and fluke both out of the water to the complete opposite back floaters with the tip of the chin sticking out and tips of pectoral fins sticking out. In the 5.2 hrs I observed a dozen gray whales, a few sightings were far out along the horizon and several closer to shore merged with north and south bounders making it a busy observation counting day.

 

First Gray Whale Cow/Calf Sighting

Hurray! let the gray whale cow/calf parade begin! but wait, which way are we going? It looks like the  mother is heading south in this photo and the baby is going north. The pair played in this area for twenty minutes with lots of direction changes and side changes too before moving on. Here the baby is closer to the shore but  in the second photo the mother is closer to the shore.

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Mom on right and calf on left.

Valentines Day 2014… 8 South 1 North

Warm sunny day in mid 80’s
Spotted one blow from the street parking and walked out to the observation deck in time to see this whale pass.

Hello you ;)

FIRST North bound Gray Whale in clear water

Helicopters (four in a row) sweep past the coast zig zagging alerting everyone to a spyhopping whale in the surf. Harbor seal today in the surf which is my first time spotting one in this area, yay! Several slow moving dolphins milled in the area for nearly an hour while a group of three whales stopped to play. Met a lovely woman who is a life coach visiting from out of state to take classes in Santa Monica.

strawberry full moon

Later looking  at the sunset in the west, what a surprise to see the FULL moon rise in the east! A spectacular strawberry PINK full moon! what a sweet Valentine’s Day treat for all the couples who were out enjoying the weather and views tonight.

Feb. 15th…

oh its you

Met a wonderful couple who are transplants from NY
Saw a mega pod of dolphins over 1000 at least as far as eye can see
3 whales milled for over an hour with dives lasting 7 min each 2-3 quick breaths with blows and down- no flukes