Every week, Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching provides the Dana Point Times and San Clemente Times a report on the week’s whale and dolphin sightings from naturalist Laura Lopez, in addition to a weekly log.
Here is Lopez’s report for the past week:
On the Dana Wharf Eight-Hour Ultimate Whale Watch, we encountered a Blue Whale with a dive time of 8-11 minutes. This Blue Whale seemed to be lingering on the surface during a series of breaths and would rise arching up, showing the dorsal fin over and over during somewhat lengthy surface intervals, before diving to feed on krill. The Blue Whale fluked multiple times and even displayed a double fluke right off our bow coming up about a minute later and fluking a second time.
Not long after we found the Blue Whale, a pair of Fin Whales surfaced—one was much larger, likely a female seen off California since 2011 and never documented anywhere else about 75 feet long, with second juvenile in the 50-foot range. Both Fin Whales simultaneously made close passes and even swam under the Ocean Adventures. During this encounter lasting several hours, we often saw all three whales—one Blue Whale and the two Fin Whales—on the surface at the same time. At one point, the Blue Whale was off our starboard stern as the two Fin Whales surfaced very close along our port side.
It is not surprising we found phalaropes, also called “krill birds,” with these whales, especially the Blue Whale which feeds almost exclusively on krill. We were 25 miles out when we found a Nazca Booby bird resting on a boogie board with rocks on it. Likely the owner placed these rocks on their board to prevent it from being taken off the beach and swept out to sea which made it even more stabilized for the Nazca Booby to rest.
Other regular whale watch trips also saw both Blue Whales and Fin Whales usually traveling north at a steady pace. One Fin Whale’s lower white right jaw—a sign of asymmetric coloration—was evident as the Fin Whale would lift its rostrum out of the water as it surfaced.
There were pods of Risso’s, Bottlenose and Common Dolphin including mixed pods of both Risso’s & Bottlenose, Common Dolphin stampedes, plus a Great White Shark and a Sea Turtle were spotted too!
Here is the latest Whale Watching Log from Dana Wharf Whale Watching:
Aug. 17 – Humpback Whale, Fin Whale, Common Dolphin, Mola Mola
Aug. 16 – Common Dolphin, Mola Mola
Aug. 15 – Bottlenose Dolphin, 1 Mola Mola
Aug. 14 – 1 Minke Whale, Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, 2 Mola Mola
Aug. 13 – Common Dolphin, 2 Mola Mola, 1 Loggerhead Turtle
Aug. 12 – 1 Fin Whale, Common Dolphin, 1 Mola Mola
Aug. 11 – 5 Fin Whales, 1 Blue Whale, Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlnose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, 3 Mola Mola
Aug. 10 – Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, 6 Mola Mola, 1 Great White Shark
Aug. 9 – Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, 4 Mola Mola
Aug. 8 – 2 Blue Whales, Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin