Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday - Gray Whale Count

As I left Ventura yesterday, I was still a tad concern about the weather. It was overcast and lightly raining when I left and still so driving through Carpenteria before I saw white clouds, blue sky and some sun peaking out in Santa Barbara.

It was semi sunny, cloudy, and overcast at Coal Oil Point in Goleta, but high hopes that it was only going to get better, and it did. :)

There were 3 Sea Otters just east (south) of the point in the kelp off of Isla Vista. Mostly relaxing and enjoying the warm sunshine. As the day went on, one bathed itself and then went on a sea urchin feeding with an obnoxious bird hanging around.

The first Gray Whale sighting via blow was made by the researcher himself; Michael Smith just west of us and just on the other side of the kelp which is fairly close to shore. However, that was the only time he saw the whale.

About 40 minutes later, the other volunteer saw 3 Gray Whale blows in the distance just east of us. Michael and I both saw some blows and an arched back as it took its deep dive and that was that. Quite bizarre and frustrating, but we are assuming they were feeding which makes it very difficult to track.

That pretty much covered my 2-hour shift... Look forward to next Monday to see what it will bring as we are getting into the northern migration season, and its very unusual and early, but Humpbacks have already been appearing in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Have a great week! :)