Sunday August 28, 2005 Offshore Trip
The flag waving in the breeze is not what I want to see as
we get underway in the predawn twilight Sunday morning. Our intrepid
group settles in for a short snooze on the long trip out of the Monterey
Bay in search of offshore migrants and hoped for rarities.
Last year's trip we enjoyed greasy calm condition where we could easily
locate the line of convergence where the water temperature breaks
and find the murrelets that like to gather there. The wind today is
not going to be conducive to that.
We stop briefly to view a few HUMPBACK WHALES and both NORTHERN RIGHT
WHALE and RISSO'S DOPLHINS then proceed on our way offshore. In the
first light we see many SOOTY SHEARWATERS arcing by and soon
a few PINK-FOOTS are mixed in with them. We don't see any BULLER'S
SHEARWATERS until we've moved well out of the bay.
An uncooperative ASHY STORM-PETREL flies by as do flocks of
Our route today takes us southwest of Pt. Pinos passing the Sur Ridge
and proceeding out to the Shepard Meander where the Monterey Sea Canyon
doubles back in a horseshoe bend. From there we head back to Pt. Pinos
visiting the 1500-fathom spot en route. To see map of the canyon go
to the Submarine Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) Submarine
Canyons Maps & Graphs web page.
Approaching the Sur Ridge a flock of seven ARTIC TERNS catches
our boat and passes us. A second flock is seen in the distance and
we have to settle with calling them "COMMIC TERNS".
Moving into the blue water, sightings drop off dramatically as they
often do but a few LONG-TAILED JAEGERS that we come upon is
a big score for some of our out-of-state visitors.
Before reaching the Shepard Meander we spot a blow and find a BLUE
WHALE and within the hour we add two FIN WHALES to the day.
Once we've reached the meander and turn and head back to shore a pod
of SHORT-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS puts in an appearance along with a
couple of NORTHERN FUR SEALS.
As for birds, we aren't seeing any. An hour, two hours pass, I feel
like I'm on an East or Gulf Coast pelagic. Finally a couple of birds
on the water appear and we double back to find two SOUTH POLAR
We reach the 1500-fathom spot and start seeing Sooties again. Approaching
the bay their numbers increase and attract a POMARINE JAEGER
and later we find a PARASITIC to achieve a Skua Slam for the
As for alcids we have seen more CASSIN'S AUKLETS offshore than
we have on our recent bay outings. RHINOCEROS AUKLETS have
been few and far between but one seen forty miles out was a surprise.
Chumming off Pt. Pinos produces many BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS.
Back in the harbor we find the summering female HARLEQUIN DUCK
with her two SURF SCOTER escorts.
Thanks go out to our fearless leaders Don Roberson, Dan Singer, Todd
Easterla and Richard Ternullo. Also to chummers Mike Tyner from BSOL
and Tanner Easterla.
California Sea Lion
Roger Wolfe for Monterey