Tag Archive: nature tours



Over 25 years ago I saw my first manatee mating event. I was leading a program for the Smithsonian Institute and I will never forget it. Since then, I have snorkeled among an esterous herd, a rambunctious gathering of amorous males in pursuit of a receptive female.  Rarely have I witnessed  the  actual attempt to impregnate  the female. While female manatees reach sexual maturity at 5 years of age, male manatees are later bloomers. Typically they are sexually mature by 8 or 9 years of age though sometimes earlier. This young male who we have named Romeo certainly gave it a go but O2 or lack of it got in the way.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANote in all 3 videos clips, the smaller male surfaces for air and then must start his amorous intentions over where he left off.  Females are often forced into the shallows by the advances of an esterous herd and will be mated by multiple males. We witnessed such an event in another area of the river.

Perhaps this female realized that Romeo’s  amorous  pursuit would be futile or perhaps later in the day he succeeded. Either way, it was an unforgettable and fascinating interaction to observe. We have named the female manatee Cougar…Life as we travel through the south lands with http://www.bluewaterventures.org



Each day we have  new discoveries during our  yearly Baja Adventure to the Sea of Cortez and Magdalena Bay. Our Baja programs are offered each year late January through February.


Today we snorkeled among 100’s of Golden Cow Nose Rays…..simply magnificent!

Capable of detecting the weak bioelectric fields of their prey such as benthic clams, these incredible cartilaginous fish are amazing to observe at such close range.  Related to the majestic spotted eagle rays, the golden cownose  rays  have a defensive spine at the base of their tale.


Here’s an unusual find, the internal shell structure of a sea butterfly, Corolla spectabilis. As the name implies this pelagic gelatinous snail can swim rapidly through the water as it escapes its predators. To feed, it oozes a muscus snare to capture its planktonic prey. We found this while exploring Greyhound Rock. Winter offers excellent tides that may reveal unusual sea creatures.
To learn more about this interesting species found in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary check out: http://jellieszone.com/corolla.htm

Thanks to Margo Dean Productions for this video!

Our  Women’s Kayak Camping Adventure at Loon Lake is offered each summer,
from a Thursday  through Sunday). On the western edge of Desolation
Wilderness near Lake Tahoe,  Loon Lake is a beautiful destination to explore
by sea kayak.

Join us for this great  weekend with women!  Snow capped peaks,
easy paddling, yummy food, cool swims and warm granite rocks
to bask on afterwards!

Cost $425  includes:  4 days of sea kayaking, instruction in kayaking
and low impact camping,  permits and  food (3 breakfasts,  4 lunches, 3
dinners). We throw in a great bunch of women too!

Open to all women including those who have never kayaked or
camped….let our guides take care of the camping details!

This is a very popular trip and space is limited so please email Kim
Powell at: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com for more details


Join Blue Water Ventures every summer as we explore the sea caves, rock gardens and rivers of the Mendocino Coast. Our next  program is designed especially for families, summer 2014.

Using Sit-On-Top kayaks, we’ll paddle into caves, rock archways and over kelp beds as we look for local residents such as harbor seals and river otters.


First time kayakers with a sense of adventure welcomed!

Join us! You will not regret it!



Imagine a huge egg cracked over an indigo blue fry pan the size of a trampoline and you have found Phacellophora camtschatica, the egg yolk sea jelly! A savory meal for the oddly shaped Mola Mola sunfish, other gelationous creatures and sea turtles, this fascintating sea jelly resides in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. While out looking for humpback whales this morning by kayak, we paddled by numerous gelantionous species such as Chrysaora colorata, formerly Pelagia colorata and commonly known as the Purple sea jelly.

Acting like a submerged spider web, the egg yolk sea jelly’s  convoluted tangle of tentacles serves to snare its prey.
Join Blue Water Ventures through-out the year as we kayak in the Elkhorn Slough and beyond. www.bluewaterventures.org


Our Bioluminescence paddle last night in Elkhorn Slough was super cool! The water glowed with dinoflagellates, a single cell bioluminescent protist, a grouping of species that may have some animal as well as plant like characteristics. Some dinoflagellates are responsible for red tide as seen in the video below while others such as zooxanthellae feed their coral host through photosynthesis.

Our next Bioluminescence Paddle is September 28th. Join us! Details at our blue water ventures website atwww.bluewaterventures.org

Hope to Glow with you!

Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator &Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: 831-459-8548
email: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com


There are those teachable moments be it in a traditional classroom or in an outdoor setting, that both student and teacher will never forget. On the final day of Coastal Kayak Explorer’s Camp we shared one of those moments.

Each summer Blue Water Ventures  based in Santa Cruz, CA  offers a variety of marine science camps. Kim Powell, owner of Blue Water Ventures leads our summer camps.  Kim has been conducting wilderness expeditions for students since 1985. She is a certified sea kayaking instructor through the American Canoe Association and Wilderness First Responder.  Kim loves sharing her knowledge of the marine world through a fun and informative approach. She has been the Director of Marine Science Camps in several  Caribbean locations in addition to Central California.

Here we go down under in Search of Sea Creatures.


Hello Everyone

I had quite a few people find interest in the story about a sea lion climbing on board a kayak last Saturday in North Moss Landing Harbor. To Recap. It appeared as though an adult male sea otter was attempting to mate with a juvenile sea lion. The sea lion’s nose had been bitten much like when male sea otters bite female otters during their courtship. The female’s nose is often cut up. I had just rafted up my kayakers and was about to give instruction regarding our protocol for passing by the “sea lion dock” as we entered Elkhorn Slough when two animals popped up near our boats.

I soon realized that what we were actually viewing was a sea otter and juvenile sea lion which quickly approached our boat and climbed onboard. Our focus quickly became easing our paddler and giving her instructions to stay calm as we moved away from the vicinity of the sea otter. Occasionally sea otters will attempt to climb on board. Part of our safety talk before launching is briefing our group on how to avoid such otters and our first protocol is to leave an area where one is. The last thing we needed was a sea otter attempting to climb onboard as well. We moved towards our destination, the Highway One bridge marking the entrance to Elkhorn Slough and then encouraged the sea lion to depart.

Elkhorn Slough is an incredible place to experience wildlife. During our guided trips, we brief people in length about the appropriate way to interact with the marine mammals found in Elkhorn Slough. The Marine Mammal Act requires that humans stay 100 yards away from a marine mammal. As boaters launching in North Moss Landing Harbor, we are closer than 100 yards as soon as we are floating. Extra care is needed as you launch in North Moss Landing Harbor. If you are kayaking with a group, we suggest that you stay near the shore or hold onto the dock until everyone is ready to paddle. This will avoid people indadvertedly drifting too close to the harbor seals which are directly across from the launch area.

A good general rule with marine mammals is if you alter the behavior of an animal, you are then too close. We site examples such as an animal looking around, swimming away, raising its head up or sliding off the beach.

Pupping season for the harbors seals is about to begin and each year we hear reports of people trying to pick up a baby harbor seal or sea otter. While intentions are good, picking up a marine mammal is potentially lethal to the young animal as it might lead to separation from its mother. During the spring time, kayakers and other boats need to be extra careful not too disturb our local marine mammals and their pups.

The picture posted here was taken from shore using a telephoto lens. A great place to photograph otters is at the end of Jetty Road in Moss Landing State Park. Remain quiet and photograph in the parking lot. The sea otters may be right below the parking area but do not climb down the cliff to get a better picture. The cliffs are unstable and the otters will become spooked.

Our local marine resources from baby harbors seals to our vast wetlands are simply incredible. Lets enjoy in a respectful way.


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.



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