February 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Clear, Cold and Dolphiny

(cross posted on blogging.la)

It is so incredibly clear today, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it like this before. I went out on the Voyager this afternoon (I admit it was a bit chilly on the water) and was surprised at the intense detail and visibility.


Today’s adventure started out a little less promising than our others. No whales were sighted by the morning boat, but they did have a super-pod of dolphins. In the afternoon the wind was picking up so there were some small whitecaps through the swells were only 2-4 feet. The exceptional visibility played tricks on us, as we spotted what might have been some dolphin heading across Santa Monica Bay towards Pt. Dume, but as we turned out and approached, they disappeared completely.

No matter, it was early and we turned south towards Pt. Vicente, stopping briefly at buoy PV10 to look at the sea lions. Continuing south it was nearly 90 minutes into the trip when we spotted a huge bunch of birds off towards the horizon. Captain Gary mentioned that he saw dolphin below the birds and there was a lot of talk in the wheel house about whether it was birds or dolphins making the spashes. Finally the Captain turned the Voyager out towards Catalina to determine what it was. It was pretty clear after only a few minutes that it was a large pod of dolphins. Another ten minutes or so and we were traveling along at about six miles an hour with a huge pod of about 800 common dolphin pointed towards Pt. Dume.


They were feeding on the way, probably some small bait fish (I never caught site of them). We were in the middle of the group, many rode the pressure wake of the bow, others followed alongside the boat and still other surfed in the wake of the Voyager.


We followed along with them for 30 minutes, and luckily they were headed in the same direction we needed to go.


Honestly, I could just go out and watch dolphins all day. But we were already running kind of late as the Captain angled our journey to maximize our time with the dolphins. As luck would have it, we did find one Gray Whale on our way back into Santa Monica Bay, just opposite the wreck of the Dominator and we delayed our return to the slip for another fifteen minutes as we tried to get a good view of him (he was heading west).

Even without the sea life, it was an exceptional day for the views. From off San Vicente we could see Angel’s Gate, the full length of Santa Catalina all the way to the Hollywood sign and the occasional peek of the snowcapped mountains through the clouds.

Read more of my whale watch adventures on blogging.la: 2-12-2006 & 12-26-2005, 7-21-2005, 5-15-20051-30-2005 & 1-17-2005 and of course all the whaley goodness right here on fast fiction.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:25 pm     Whale Watching

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Day of the Dolphin

I’ve been out on a few whale watching tours now but I have to say that the best ones always involve dolphins.

Today’s trip out of Redondo Sport Fishing on the Voyager with Captain Gary involved a lot of dolphins.

The weather was absolutely amazing today. Excellent visibility, warm weather, calm winds and clear water. You really couldn’t ask for anything more.

As we got out into the bay I spotted a huge pod of dolphins miles off to the north of us heading towards Pt. Dume. As tempting as it was to go towards them, they were moving away from us, and it didn’t seem that we’d be able to catch up with them. But something happened out there, they must have come across some fertile feeding grouds because they stopped and a huge swarm of birds were building up over the pod. Captain Gary decided we’d turn towards them and take our chances that they’d stay put.

I was so excited! The conditions were ideal for good photos of the dolphins in the water.

We didn’t spend long with the long-beaked common dolphin pod, but that’s okay. It was an amazing half hour. I took about 250 pictures.


Then we headed off towards some Pacific Gray Whales that were spotted back near Torrance Beach. It was a rather odd sighting. The whales were in a bad position as there was a huge amount of traffic in the bay, especially as they were hugging the coast within the bay. There were plenty of times where they changed their direction or breathing patterns because of the boats nearby. As we rounded the point the traffic seemed a bit better and they settled into a better pattern, however, it took them closer to shore and we didn’t get as good a look.


I’m not going to get to go out again in the next few weeks, so to end my February schedule with this trip was pretty awesome. What’s more, the passengers on the trip seemed equally thrilled with their experience.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:12 pm     Whale Watching

Friday, February 10, 2006

Quote of the Day

I was reading Science Daily and came across this quote:

I set up a null hypothesis and the program rejected that hypothesis using the new data with a probability level of 10 to the minus 17th. In science, you don’t get any more conclusive than that. - Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D, of Washington University in St Louis

Okay, I’m not even sure about what the probability level of 10 to the minus 17th is in relation to other hypotheses that we’re comfortable with as established theories, but in the future I’m using that phrase.

You’re wondering how to incorporate this into everyday conversation?

YOU: What time does the movie start?

ME: 7:25

YOU: Are you sure?

ME: With a probability level of 10 to the minus 17th.

YOU: Word!

Link to New Analysis Shows Three Human Migrations Out Of Africa

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:01 pm    













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During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.