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:
Happy New Year!
The Gray Whale Highway in front of the Dana Point Harbor is open!
We started the week with Fin whales feeding and ended the week with Gray whales migrating south very close to shore often in less than 100 feet of water. Traveling in groups of one, two or three, several seem to stop just north of the Dana Point Headlands. Occasionally, some will circle back as far north as Salt Creek Beach, sometimes pausing or resting before continuing south. The majority of Gray whales are traveling at a steady rate of about 3-5 miles per hour with some even faster.
We are still seeing huge pods of long-beaked common dolphin, and twice this week, we saw spectacular stampedes as the entire pod of dolphin started porpoising and racing across the water’s surface. During other encounters, they would all come together often in tight groups to devour huge schools of bait fish. Fin whales joined in these feeding frenzies which were observed several miles off the coast.
Pods of often 30 or more offshore bottlenose dolphin have been extremely active often racing towards us to play. We had numerous encounters with them where many were surfing and breaching in our wake as they seemed to chase after us.
Small pods of Pacific white-side dolphin frequently find us as they charge our vessel to surf our wake and bow ride. These winter time dolphin are always fun to watch as they are very fast swimmers and usually very playful.
Here is the latest Whale Watching Log from Dana Wharf Whale Watching:
Jan. 6 – 1 Gray Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin
Jan. 5 – No Trips Due to Weather
Jan. 4 – No Trips Due to Weather
Jan. 3 – No Trips Due to Weather
Jan. 2 – 9 Gray Whales, including 1 Cow/Calf pair, Common Dolphin
Jan. 1 – No Trips Due to Weather
Dec. 31 – 2 Gray Whales, Common Dolphin
Dec. 30 – 7 Gray Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, 1 Swordfish, 1 Mola Mola
Dec. 29 – 2 Gray Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, Mola Mola, Swordfish
Dec. 28 – 2 Gray Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin