Tag Archive: California Gray Whales


Eye of the Whale

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

We are back from one of the most profound wildlife encounters of my 30 year career as a naturalist…..Gray Whales of Baja featuring our new whale camp with http://www.bluewaterventures.org. Thanks to our incredible Mexican Outfitter, Mar y Aventuras~top notch!

Join Blue Water Ventures each February in the Lagoons of Baja

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http://www.bluewaterventures.org.

A budding shark enthusiast, a mere 10 years of age and part of my Marine Science Camp excitedly shared a memorable factoid with me a few years ago. “Ya know Kim, you are more likely to die from a toilet seat whirling through the air than a shark”.
I suppose this fact may be true if you reside in Kansas but not if you kayak the open coast of Central California from Davenport to Santa Cruz. Today we set off on such an adventure, part of a staff enrichment paddle with Blue Water Ventures. Armed with a marine radio, compass, extra fleece and a cell phone, 3 of my seasoned guides and a Blue Water fan set off on a 15 mile paddle along the rugged California Coast.

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The coastal scenery was spectacular. Sea caves, arches and rocky pour overs dotted the coastline. Paddling a mile or so offshore we admired the scenery from a far keeping a safe distance from a menacing surf zone. We hoped to encounter a few California Gray Whales as they make their perilous journey from the calving lagoons of Baja to their rich feeding grounds of Alaska. While several whales surfaced at close range, our real focus was to keep upright as falling seas lunged us forward and chaotic wind swell hit our kayaks broad side. We were slightly gripped, thirsty yet unquenched as we made our steady path down the coast. Four women focused and alert engulfed in blue seas.

Then a stealthy shape silently appeared slicing across the chaotic seas gliding along side us for a few seconds then disappearing. The Man in the Gray Suit, a real buzz kill, an uninvited guest and an apex predator, The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias decided to crash our training. Our guess is that our little friend sporting the gray suit just cruised by mildly curious. Like most white shark encounters with humans, our visitor directed its attention elsewhere. An excited sea lion porpoised moments later, perhaps escaping the jaws of the shark or providing a meal.
DSC01789Admittedly, there was a sigh of relief as we tucked around Seal Rock and enjoyed a relaxing observation of a sea otter mom and her pup wrapped up in kelp.

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

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DSC00660Monterey Bay is making national if not international news once again. An array of wildlife from seabirds to humpback whales are feasting on anchovies which are densely packed into our near shore waters. Try a day trip out to Moss Landing State Beach and watch this incredible show from the jetties. Better yet, join Sanctuary Cruises Whale Watching based in Moss Landing where the “action” currently is. Its impossible to predict where an 80,000 pound marine mammal may choose to feed on a given day, but the crew aboard Sanctuary WILL find the whales.

Last night after reviewing the current marine conditions, I kayaked out and tucked up alongside Sanctuary Cruises to observe an incredible display of behavior. I would not recommend this for inexperienced paddlers. The whales may change direction and approach your vessel. Sometimes they are curious and gain a better perspective of their surroundings by “spyhopping” or raising their head out of the water for a better look. When kayaking, be prepared to deal with surf launching/landing, tides, currents, wind and swell. Moss Landing is notorious for fog banks to roll in abruptly. The best show is from land or aboard Sanctuary Cruises.

DSC00677On Nov. 1st and 2nd, Blue Water Ventures is offering a bioluminescence paddle into Elkhorn Slough, the calm wetlands adjacent to the Monterey Bay whale hot spot.Hopefully, the whales will still be around and we will observe from land before paddling into the glowing water. For details go to: http://www.bluewaterventures.org.

The Best of Baja

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Every february Blue Water Ventures travels to the whale breeding lagoons of Baja and the Sea of Cortez teaming up with our incredible local outfitter, Mar Y Aventuras. For 10 action packed days, we snorkel with sea lions, observe reef fish, sea kayak, beachcomb and hope for a ‘friendly” encounter with the California gray whales of Magdalena Bay.

Baja Highlights
* Kayaking through mangroves and from our secluded base camp of Espiritu Santo Island in the Sea of Cortez

* Unforgettable Encounters with Cailfornia Gray Whales, Magdalena Bay on Baja’s Pacific Coast

* Snorkeling with Sea Lions and Colorful Reef Fish in the blue waters of Baja

* Beach combing for treasures along beautiful deserted beaches

* Delicious local seafood caught and prepared by our Mexican Crew

* Skiff supported base camps with spacious tents

* Naturalist-led hikes, snorkeling excursions and whale encounters

* Sunrises and Sunsets over magnificent desert scenery

*Swimming alongside a filter feeding harmless shark that may be over 30 feet in length

Blue Whales of The Sea Of Cortez

While Island Hopping in the Sea of Cortez, we encountered the largest animal on earth, the majestic blue whale. Reaching a length of over 100 feet, blues sustain themselves on a diet of krill, a tiny crustacean. Hunted to near extinction in the 1920’s, blue whales are thought to use the Sea of Cortez as a nursery area.

www.bluewaterventures.org

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Baby blues are born 25 feet in length and 6000 pounds. Consuming 100-150 gallons of milk per day, calves may gain 10 pounds per hour and are weaned after 6 months.

The California coast supports the world’s largest concentration of blue whales. Monterey Bay is a summer feeding ground for the endangered blue whales.

www.bluewaterventures.org

The Eye of the Whale

www.bluewaterventures.org

Every February Blue Water Ventures travels to the lagoons of Baja to spend time with California Gray Whales and their offspring.

Remember the childhood ritual of spinning? It appears as though this baby California Gray Whale enjoys spinning, over and over again.

Life in a Baja Lagoon…..

Find out more about our naturalist-led adventures at http://www.bluewaterventures.org

I hope you might consider joining us as we explore Baja, from desert to sea!

Kim Powell is owner, operator and head naturalist at Blue Water Ventures in Santa Cruz, CA. Offering naturalist-led field trips for students and adventurous vacations designed to be relaxing with an educational component for women. Kim has been organizing single and multiple day excursions to extraordinarily beautiful places since 1985

Sincerely, Kim of Blue Water Ventures

www.bluewaterventures.org

Every february Blue Water Ventures travels to the whale breeding lagoons of Baja teaming up with our incredible local outfitter, Mar Y Aventuras. For 10 action packed days, we snorkel with sea lions, observe reef fish, sea kayak, beachcomb and hope for a ‘friendly” encounter with the California gray whales of Magdalena Bay.

Gray whales are known to be friendly at times, intentionally seeking interactions with humans. It is entirely the choice of the whales that reach 50 feet in length and 80,000 pounds, far greater than our tiny ponga boats.

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This underwater footage of two California Gray whales was captured by Kim Powell, owner, operator and head naturalist of Blue Water Ventures based in Santa Cruz, CA.

Find out more about our naturalist-led adventures at http://www.bluewaterventures.org

I hope you might consider joining us as we explore Baja, from desert to sea!

Kim Powell is owner, operator and head naturalist at Blue Water Ventures in Santa Cruz, CA. Offering naturalist-led field trips for students and adventurous vacations designed to be relaxing with an educational component for women. Kim has been organizing single and multiple day excursions to extraordinarily beautiful places since 1985

Sincerely, Kim of Blue Water Ventures

www.bluewaterventures.org

Our Baja adventure 2013 had so many incredible moments. On our final day in Baja, it was suggested by our boat captain that we skip our last whale watching session as high winds were making the seas rough. A few of us so deeply yearned for a final goodbye to the whales that we bundled up and ventured out. Our Mexican based outfitter, Mar Y Aventuras is fantastic and agreed to take us out on that windy early morning in Magdalena Bay. As we watched a gray whale repeatedly breach off in the distance, we reflected upon our profound whale encounters in the breeding lagoons of Baja. I think each of us were quietly accepting that a final friendly visit by a California gray whale was unlikely.

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I had just mentioned to my group that it was Jean Peterson’s memorial service and we collectively sent love and light to Jean, her partner Mary and daughter Lucy. Jean yearned to be close to whales. Before she died, Jean gave me the book Grayson, a true story about a young swimmer who encounters a baby gray whale off of southern California.

Moments later, Frieda a California gray whale, a so called “friendly whale”, one that intentionally seeks human contact paid us a final visit. We recognized her by the distinctive scar on her barnacle laden rostrum. Moved beyond words, we watched her leave titling her head upward catching a final glimpse of us. Slowly and with intention she made her way to the only other boat in the vicinity.

As we drove off we watched a group of excited strangers thrilled by a visit from a whale named Freida. Though we will never meet the members of that small vessel, we share a common thread, a sublime encounter that will not be forgotten.

Kim Powell is owner, operator and head naturalist at Blue Water Ventures in Santa Cruz, CA. Each winter she travels to Baja, Mexico leading a 10 day eco-adventure, from desert to sea.

Blue Water Ventures Offers naturalist-led field trips for students and adventurous vacations for adults designed to be relaxing with an educational component. Kim has been organizing single and multiple day excursions to extraordinarily beautiful places since 1985. Find out more at http://www.bluewaterventures.org