03-19-2012: Near Perfect Conditions, North Bound Gray Whales Crossing in Full-Force, Risso’s Dolphins and more reports of Humpbacks

What a difference a day makes. Sunday was about as bad as the marine conditions get. Of course, we had to cancel. But it was an experience just watching. Waves breaking across the harbor mouth and huge white caps as far as the eye could see. Not to mention big stormy surf off the North Jetty.

But today was just a delight. Tee-shirt conditions. It’s really hard to imagine. It didn’t seem like the same ocean.

Glassy, minimal swell with warm sun. We decided we would head over toward the Soquel Canyon to the northwest instead out toward Point Pinos to the southwest where we’ve been going to the gray whales. We’ve got humpback-itus. So that’s what we were hoping for. No one’s really been looking in that area for the last couple of months. With conditions the way they were, it was a good to day to explore.

After about 45-minutes of running I spotted our first blow. It was still about a mile or so off. So we just kind of eased up hoping for a humpback showing. After a couple of surfacing, we still were not sure what species we had. But as we got closer, we started to see more blows. And soon it was clear we were with six large gray whales. They gave us some great looks. They stayed up nicely, blowing a three or four times each surfacing, showing a large portion of their backs and then fluking before every other dive or so.

The weather is what made today such a treat. It’s nice to be able to relax out there without having to bundle up in a jacket.

On the way in we came across a nice pod of about 15 Risso’s dolphins. So that’s always nice to have a little variety. We also heard reports of more humpback whales and killer whales on Saturday.

Our next trip is Thursday 03-22-2012. The weather conditions are looking good.

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