Our destination is the Fourteen Mile Bank, an underwater ridge about half way to Catalina Island, with its highest spot lying about 600 feet under the surface. The westernmost side of the bank has a fairly dramatic drop to 2400 feet (nearly a half-mile - think “steep mountainside”). Ocean currents push up against this underwater "cliff" and create upwellings of nutrient-rich water creating a chain of life: protoplankton > zooplankton > small fish > birds > bigger fish > bigger birds > marine mammals.
The Fourteen Mile Bank is unique among area underwater features because it has one of the shallowest offshore locations (only 600 feet deep) surrounded by much deeper water (1800-2400 feet) in fairly close proximity to the mainland. The bottom topography beyond the bank drops to deeper water with a flat and featureless bottom structure until the bottom rises rapidly at Catalina Island.
Catalina Island often acts as a wind break from westerly winds. Warm water tends to pool in the lee of Catalina between the island and the bank and as a result, temperature breaks often form near the bank, attracting life: crustaceans, small fish, seabirds, marlin, swordfish, tuna, sharks, marine mammals and whales.
We will be using the Sea Explorer, a research vessel belonging to the Ocean Institute of Dana Point. Sea Explorer is a large, comfortable 70 foot research vessel with ample deck space & seating for great viewing of the ocean, good restroom facilities, great deck stability, two decks (upper and lower) and good power for quickly covering the distances not occupied by birds.
For more information, contact Sea & Sage Audubon at (949) 261-7963 or visit their Field Trips Page.
REGISTRATION: Advance reservations are necessary.Trip fee is $50 per person (payable to Sea & Sage Audubon). Mail to: Pelagic trip, c/o Nancy Kenyon, 32 Almond Tree Ln, Irvine CA 92612. Include your phone number & your email address.
DETAILS: After you register with Sea & Sage Audubon, look for more infomation from them about the landing, maps, parking, driving directions, policies, snacks, etc. CANCELLATION POLICY: SoCalBirding.com trips are sponsored by five different organizations using different boats departing from different landings and harbors, with different policies. Please familiarize yourself with your trip sponsor's policies regarding reservations, cancellations, refunds and substitutions as well as check-in procedures and equipment allowed on the boats.
HOW TO PREPARE: Click for tips on how to prepare, what to wear, what to bring and when to arrive for a typical Southern California pelagic seabirding trip.
EXPECTED SPECIES: What we see depends on the season, the itinerary and how far from shore we venture. Learn more about what species we will probably see and what species might be seen.
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