Tag Archive: kayaking


Prehensile Manatees!

http://www.bluewaterventures.org
So many incredible and memorable moments during our Springs and Manatee adventure. On our final day, our group was mesmerized watching the prehensile lips and fleshy region of a manatee known as the oral disc.

Slowing down the video, you can see the stiff thick bristles edging either side of the mouth that actually help grab vegetation moving it towards the mouth. To my knowledge, no other mammal uses stiff whiskers in a prehensile manner.

screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-2-31-20-pmHighly sensitive, these thick whiskers as well as the 3000 tactile hairs that cover their tough hide aid manatees as they explore a murky world.

 

 

Check out our upcoming adventures at http://www.bluewaterventures.org

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Blue Water Ventures offers naturalist-ledadventures world wide. We lead kayaking trips in Central California, The Sierras, Baja, Belize, British Virgin Islands and Tonga where we snorkel with humpback whales.

Working with all ages, we specialize in school field trips and private family groups. Our youngest audience are 5th gradersnd we take schools of all ages to the university level.

We also have a very demand for naturalist-led programming for our blue water women followers.

Join us!
Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: (831) 459 8548
email: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com
website: http://www.bluewaterventures.org
127 Mason St, Santa Cruz CA 95060

follow us on Facebook! or our Nature News Blog Site

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

During our naturalist-led kayaking trips in Elkhorn Slough, we discuss what lives both above and below this rich ecological wetland area. The eelgrass beds are expanding due to an interplay among three Slough species.

A fascinating relationship has developed among the Taylor sea hare, their crab predator and the charismatic coastal marine mammal, the southern sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis. During the early 1980’s, Elkhorn Slough and its associated eelgrass beds experienced a recruitment of the southern sea otter. As the otter’s range expanded into the slough, the population of Phyllaplisai taylori expanded correspondingly since otters started keeping a check on several crab species, which prey on the slug.

Not only did Phyllaplisai taylori expand in numbers but also they tended to live longer and grow larger with fewer pressures from crab predation.560220_871548582889436_8191899317797331968_n-1

As the slugs flourished in the Elkhorn Slough, the eelgrass beds became notably healthier. The slugs grazed upon many of the encrusting algae forms that would otherwise compete with eelgrass for sunlight. Acting as a nursery arena for a variety of marine fauna, healthy beds of Zostera marina is a highly desirable trend.

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During certain times of the year, we observe a high density of certain sea jellies such as the Red Eye Sea Jelly caught on video here.

Join our next naturalist-led adventure with
http://www.bluewaterventures.org
Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: (831) 459 8548
email: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com
website: http://www.bluewaterventures.org
127 Mason St, Santa Cruz CA 95060

follow us on Facebook! or our Nature News Blog Site

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Elkhorn Slough is a fantastic location for a corporate team building event and our professional naturalists are ready to assist you! Our programs always include incredible wildlife viewing that helps to build a sense of unity among colleagues. Birding is fantastic and there are plenty of marine mammals to view.

We can do a variety of team building activities such as “walking the plank” problem solving and kayak races.

Some corporate groups choose to do an evening paddle with us. Night kayaking is magical and when conditions are favorable, we may witness the extraordinary light show produced by bioluminescent plankton. During the summer and early fall, bioluminescent algal blooms may light up the dark night water with every stoke of our paddle blade.

Leaving from Moss Landing, we’ll have a leisurely paddle through Elkhorn Slough before full darkness is upon us. Our trip will begin with a quiet observation of 20-30 sea otters that reside in Moss Landing Harbor. Beginners welcomed.

The Protected harbor of Pillar Point near Halp5070389f Moon Bay is another great destination to enjoy a team building event.

Hope you can join us!

 

 

 

 

Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: (831) 459 8548
email: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com
website: http://www.bluewaterventures.org
127 Mason St, Santa Cruz CA 95060

follow us on Facebook! or our Nature News Blog Site

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Blue Water Ventures offers customized naturalist-led field trips in California, Central America and the Caribbean. As environmental educators, we believe in hands on learning experiences using the outdoors as our classroom.

When teachers call to inquire about field trips, I speak with them personally to discuss curriculum and the particular themes they would like covered during a program.

Many Bay Area area schools choose the calm protected water of Elkhorn Slough for a day of sea kayaking. Harbor seals, sea otters, cormorants and pelicans are easily observed from the quiet perspective of a kayak. For fifth graders and above, no previous kayaking experience is necessary.

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Our Elkhorn Slough curriculum includes: wetlands ecology, endangered species, natural history of sea otters, harbor seals, sea birds. Etc and cultural history. Leadership and teamwork are key components of your field trip. After lunch, students are introduced to several sampling techniques including a large seine net to pull and plankton tow with field microscopes to use.

We offer a leisurely paced, full day in Elkhorn Slough (9:30-2:00) for only $38 per person with a complimentary trip for teachers. Closer to San Francisco and the is Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay where a similar curriculum can be offered for $48 per person.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As a professional educator with over 30 years in the field with students, I am committed to providing quality outdoor programs. I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you regarding potential field trips for your students.
Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: (831) 459 8548
email: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com
website: http://www.bluewaterventures.org
127 Mason St, Santa Cruz CA 95060

follow us on Facebook! or our Nature News Blog Site

 

follow us on Facebook! or our Nature News Blog Site

Man In the Gray Suit

Man in the Gray Suit
Also known as the Landlord……love being home paddling among our humpback whales of Monterey Bay and a few more elusive species.
Rebecca and I paddled out about 3 miles from Moss Landing Harbor. Beautiful sea conditions, ideal for whale and wildlife sightings. We were hopeful and eventually in awe when 1/2 dozen humpback whales were sighted.

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Smelling a slight stench, we noticed a massive slick of dead anchovies which stirred up a feeding frenzy of birds and a few overly anxious sea lions…..off in the distance several humpback whales surfaced.
Glancing back towards the fish slick, a large dark dorsal fin approximately 2-3 feet high suddenly emerged among the fish goo. My thoughts instantly raced through a series of possibilities. Within seconds I realized we were kayaking with a truly impressive apex predator, a great white shark!
Bill Pullen who was with us confirmed my thoughts and said, “Yeah, that’s a big one” based on his recent sightings of juvenile white sharks while surfing around Santa Cruz county. How Big is Big? Large female white sharks may exceed 20 feet in length which would dwarf our tandem kayak but who knows….we just saw the impressive dorsal fin.
I have paddled Monterey Bay for over 20 years and today was my first good look at the stealthy predator, the Landlord of the Sea! Love the wonders of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Join us on a naturalist-led adventure at http://www.bluewaterventures.org. Our next whales and wildlife paddle leaving from Moss Landing is October 1st.

Last night our bioluminescence paddle was so incredible that we added more dates for September! Water was glowing and sparkling with each stroke of the kayak blade…erie, cool and memorable with marine mammals coming in close for a better look at us! Join us at http://www.bluewaterventures.org!

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

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Another magical night in Elkhorn Slough with a great group of home schooled seniors with http://www.bluewaterventures.org

On moonless summer ~fall nights as the dusk or crepuscular feeders are finishing up a meal, the light show produced by bioluminescence dinoflagellates is about to unfold. One such algae is Noctiluca scintilllians and our plankton tow from last night may reveal this species or others. Noctiluca is a bioluminescent dinoflagellate capable of generating light. A variety of marine species exhibit bioluminescent properties, a chemical reaction between the compound luciferin and the enzyme luciferase. Bacteria within the species may also produce cold light.

Marine species have bioluminescence qualities for a variety of reasons. They may flash a particular pattern of light to attract a mate or to startle a predator. Other species may have bioluminescence to lure a curious yet unsuspecting prey towards them providing an easy meal. While a single dinoflagellate may only have a diameter of .5mm, collectively they can produce an impressive amount of “sea sparkle” in the water column.

http://www.bluewaterventures.org
bDSC02517What an extraordinary day on the Bay! The whale activity continues to be awesome and I would recommend a camera with a good zoom! Keep adjusting your position and be alert to changes both in weather and whales. Paddling in the fog is treacherous and motorboats can’t see you. Viewing wildlife from from our beaches is excellent now or paddle with an expeirenced partner or guide.
It’s busy out there and not for inexperienced boaters. In fact, in the last 3 weeks we’ve heard reports of paddlers getting into trouble, hoping to get out to the whales. The supermoon brought extreme tidal changes with a dangerous ebb flow out the harbor mouth where boaters dumped and were flushed out to sea.

DSC02515The humpbacks are diving to feed at depth as well as lunge feeding at the surface. Using their plates of baleen that hangs from the upper jaw, they filter out their prey of choice, currently anchovies.
The cliffs above Mitchel’s Cove, West Cliff of Santa Cruz still has regular visits by ” Mitch” a humpback whale who will lunge feed in 10 feet of water, 30 feet from shore! People are lining up on shore for the best view ever and its free!