WHALES & SEABIRDS 2.5-Days of Luxury on the SEARCHER Whale and Seabird Natural History Adventure Searcher Natural History Tours Saturday to Monday May 26-28, 2012
Laysan Albatross (c) Todd McGrath
Red-billed Tropicbird (c) Tom Blackman
On Memorial Day weekend (and the two following weekends) Searcher Natural History Tours is off in search of Blue, Fin and Humpback Whales, Boobies, Tropicbirds, Albatrrosses, Shearwaters, Murrelets, Risso's and Pacific White-sided Dolphins and who knows what other marine mammals that are seldom – if ever – seen from shore.
Marine Mammals included Blue, Humpback, Fin, Minke and Gray Whales, 20 Northern Right Whale Dolphins, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Guadalupe Fur Seals, Harbor and Elephant Seals. Fish included California Flying Fish, Mako Shark and Mola Mola.
We’ll expect to see southern-hemisphere breeding Pink-footed and Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Black, Leach's and possibly Ashy Storm-Petrels, South Polar Skua (Antarctic thugs raised as youngsters on a diet of penguin), Red-necked Phalarope, Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers, Xantus's Murrelet, Cassin's Auklet.
Further out in deeper water (the San Clemente basin or the Cortez and Tanner Banks beyond San Clemente) we may find Black-footed or Laysan Albatrosses, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Leach's & Ashy Storm-Petrels, Red-Billed Tropicbird, Brown Booby, Blue-footed Booby, Sabine's Gull and Arctic Tern (we’ll probably see 4 or 5 (maybe 6) of these 10 rarer species).
Much larger than the biggest dinosaur, heavier than a DC-10 jet liner, bigger than three school busses, Blue Whales are the largest animals ever to live on the face of the earth – and SEARCHER plans to get up close and personal with them. Late spring and early summer is a great time to look for these majestic creatures; they migrate annually from their winter breeding grounds in warm tropical waters where they mate and give birth. In the summer they return to California and parts north where they feed for 3-4 months on the rich supply of krill and other food which occur in huge numbers along western North America.
Where we go is dependant on where whales and birds are "life zones" are being seen. Another factor is the seas. SEARCHER is an ultra-comfortable 95-foot boat that can handle pretty much any types of seas, but a primary consideration in any route is the comfort of passengers. The beauty of this trip plan is that even if we encounter a rare late spring storm, we can spend a lot of productive times in the lee of San Clemente Island. The usual moderate seas of late May/early June should allow us to poke our noses further out to explore the wonders that await in the deeper waters on the other side of San Clemente.
Day 1: Board SEARCHER at 8 a.m. at Fisherman's Landing in San Diego. Motor to the Nine Mile Bank in search of migrating offshore blue whales and dolphins. We'll spend the rest of the day over deep-water areas to encounter pelagic birds and other marine life.
Day 2: Spend the entire day offshore searching and observing marine mammals and birds.
Day 3: Cruise past Los Coronados Islands (in Mexican waters) to view the nesting colonies of Brown Boobies, Brown Pelicans, Brandt’s Cormorants, and look for oystercatchers and other booby species which have been known to “show up” with the Brown Booby colony. We’ll also look for Elephant and Harbor Seals, California Sea Lions and other animals that use these remote islets for resting, nesting, and feeding. Arrive back to the dock at Fisherman's Landing by noon on Day 3.
We don't know exactly what we see until we're out there. That's the facinating aspect of riding SEARCHER, you'll see things that the average person will never see in their entire life. It's always great fun, and we hope you'll join us.
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