Early morning clouds changed to mid day rain before finally moving south leaving rough choppy water and strong gusty winds. Thankfully at least one gray whale was observed traveling north 500 yards out from shore on the northern migration path.
Today, following the calendar command to “march forth”, the gray whales traveled through our observation area with speed . The four hour sampling day ended with four whales in four stops along the coast at sunset displaying various gray whale behaviors including spyhopping, rolling, fluking and spouting heart shaped blows.
What a wonderful start to the month of March, seeing a gray whale breach on the migration north with a view of the Catalina Island in the background! This whale was very active breaching 3 times as well as spyhopping, rolling and showing pectoral fins for several minutes before traveling through with another whale following close behind. I watched this pair travel through the sunline out towards Anacapa Channel Islands.
Finally the clouds have moved out leaving a clear view towards the horizon and the Channel Islands to the north and Catalina Island to the south,allowing maximum visibility to see the gray whales migrating north. Today in the three and half hours I observed, two whales powered thru at top speed along with two separate boats also traveling at top speeds. Hundreds of dolphins and shore birds were seen stampeding miles out to the south and nearly one hundred sea lions stampeded close to shore in a brilliant display of acrobatic synchronized hunting tactics. Also seen today by a reliable eye witness (Pete) were four gray whales milling 250yds off the coast mid day. The giant ancient coreopsis are in full bloom all along the PCH and at here is the view yesterday from Pt Dume.
On this partly sunny 63 degree day with 65/35 percent visibility due to whispy clouds and heavy marine layer along the horizon blocking the view of both Catalina Island and Anacapa Channel Islands, one gray whale observed heading south 250 yards out from the pinnacles and another was observed in the surf passing bath house 3 todayin the 2 hrs I observed today. Lifeguard Kyle (a reliable eyewitness) observed 4 gray whales heading south earlier in the day. The road going in to Pt Dume is still closed at Westward but the road repair to the storm drain is nearly finished.
After over a week of heavy marine layer, wet rainy days with poor visabilty, today’s sunshine and 72 degree weather was welcomed. Erosion from the recent storms damaged a large run off pipe under the road leading to the beach causing it to be blocked off until the repairs are finished. Dolphins frolicked in the late afternoon as the sun was setting, one harbor seal in the surf, several sea lions up on sea lion rock, a dozen or more cormorants out on bird rock, a flock of sanderlings flitting along the tide line but not a one gray whale in the 3 hrs I observed today!
Three gray whales counted today in the late afternoon sun. Two heading south in one sighting and one heading north in the second sighting, making it the first north bound observation of 2017. A large group of dolphins were spotted during the sunset as the last few surfers waited for the last ride in to shore.
Low visibility made it difficult to spot gray whales migrating south today. There were surfers, swimmers, sea lions, one willet shore bird and several dog walkers as well the regular sea gulls making the 2.5hrs I watched enjoyable non the less. At sunset the clouds broke up just enough to brighten up the sky drizzly rain was still falling , not quite a sun shower but a glowing drizzle.
Surf was up just after noon today and was up pretty much until the sunless sunset on this cloudy over cast day. It was definitely a dolphin day today instead of ground hog day. These dolphins were not seeing shadows as they frolicked in the surf swimming side by side with the surfers. There were several different groups of surfers and dolphins throughout the day but the beautiful mint blue water was consistwent. A flock of sandpipers watched the action along with a blue eyed stately brown pelican in full breeding plumage . There were three gray whale sightings today. The first was low profile in the surf line. The second was a duo traveling close together approximately 150 yards out and traveled past the growing kelp pad near the point. The last sighting was just after sunset again near the surf line with a group of slow moving dolphins and the last few surfers.
Patience is a lesson learned and practiced while studying and observing gray whales. Today was no exception. Thankfully it paid off with one small blow followed by one large dorsal hump after 3hrs. A large group of students ages 18-25 from the Dream Center worked on building trust through leadership training.