Sunday September 25, 2005
The forecast was for winds from the northeast but the reality was
wind from the southwest. Go figure. Given the opportunity, free of
the typical winds from the northwest our group of 20 headed offshore.
Our route took us southwest out of the bay and out to the 1500 fathom
spot. This is the deepest water you can find close to shore, 23 miles
out from Pt. Pinos where the depth is 9,000 ft.
after boarding the boat a juvenile SABINE'S GULL flew by. We
relocated it in a feeding frenzy of BRANDT'S CORMORANTS and
an assortment of gulls just off the breakwater. Tanner Easterla chummed
in earnest and before we knew it the Sabine's was right up to the
stern eating popcorn. A nice way to start the day and far from typical.
Moving out of the bay we plunged into the dense marine layer that
resulted in some grumbling but soon the layer dissipated and we were
enjoying really pleasant conditions.
RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and COMMON MURRES were found along
with a single very uncooperative CASSIN'S AUKLET, which are
very sparse in the bay this year.
Shearwaters consisted of the expected SOOTY, PINK-FOOTED
and BULLERS. NORTHERN FULMARS, which had been few and
far between before this week, put in a good showing.
In comparison to the previous weekend the seabirds were not concentrated
in flocks and we had to put in some serious effort to find them. We
had numerous SOUTH POLAR SKUAS and a few POMARINE JAEGERS.
Several ASHY STORM-PETRELS were seen and a single BLACK
STORM-PETREL was sighted far from where the flocks have been congregating
big thrill on the day was the sighting of a pod of ten BAIRD'S BEAKED
WHALES near the 1500-fathom spot. We saw them briefly just before
they dove and decided to lay down a fish oil slick and sit on it while
we waited for the whales to resurface. While we were waiting a PARASITIC
JAEGER flew by followed by a LONG-TAILED JAEGER that resulted
in hoots of "SKUA SLAM!" from the back of the boat.
After 45 minutes we decided to give up on the whales and just as the
engines revved up to go the BAIRD'S BEAKED WHALES were seen doing
a whale version of panting behind us. Richard Ternullo maneuvered
the boat into a good viewing position for a photo op and we enjoyed
some spectacular, up close looks at these bizarre whales. One of the
animals put on a quite a show rolling over onto its back exposing
its underside. It also swam sideways with half of its tail out of
Three Local seabirders took advantage of our go on 3 get the 4th free
and were comped.
CALIFORNIA SEA LION
Roger Wolfe for Monterey