Sunday September 18, 2005 Offshore
The forecast for northwest winds was not favorable for getting offshore.
Skipper Richard Ternullo decided to give it a shot and we got underway
while it was still dark. Over the radio we contacted the albacore
fishermen heading the same way. The Kahuna out of Moss Landing was
seven miles ahead of us and initially gave the report that it looked
like the weather "was laying down nicely."
When it was light enough to see we began chumming and looking for
seabirds. We came upon a loose aggregation of several HUMPBACK WHALES
and while we were observing them our first BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS
appeared at the back of the boat to check out the chum. Of course
we already had seen many SOOTY and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS.
We reached an area 25 miles offshore, about half as far as we needed
to go to find the area where the water temperature breaks, when we
got word from the Kahuna that the weather was taking a turn for the
worse with increasing wind.
That was all we needed to hear so we turned back for the bay and the
calmer waters of the north end in the lee of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
We knew we would be able to find storm-petrels in this area and if
we were really lucky we might be able to relocate the Hawaiian Petrel
seen the day before.
Off of Davenport we found both BLACK and ASHY STORM-PETRELS
along with a few LEASTS as well. SOUTH POLAR SKUAS put
in appearances along with a couple of POMARINE JAEGERS.
Both PACIFIC-WHITE SIDED and NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS came in
to ride the bow and a NORTHERN FUR SEAL was seen napping at the surface.
While I was at the bow pointing out the differences between Black
and Ashy Storm-petrels Todd Easterla at the stern spotted a SHORT-TAILED
SHEARWATER and a flyby NORTHERN FULMAR.
Lately alcids have seemed scarce. I asked Richard about this and he
said they were all in Soquel Canyon so we decided to check it out
on our way back to the harbor. Man, was he right as we came upon dense
rafts of hundreds of COMMON MURRES along with a smattering
of RHINOCEROS AUKLETS. Lots of shearwaters on the water with
some BULLER'S SHEARWATERS included.
We sifted through thousands of shearwaters but failed to turn up anything
new. Off of the beach we picked up some ELEGANT TERNS and PELAGIC
CORMORANTS before reaching the harbor at 1:30 pm.
Since the trip had been abbreviated by four hours, all of our patrons
were charged for an eight hour trip only.
California Sea Lion
Roger Wolfe for Monterey