Vocalizing, feeding false killer whales very close to the boat in Sea of Cortez!
To all our 2013 passengers and newest Searcher family members: Thank you so much for joining us and following along on our blog. The last tour had a wonderful encounter with a large feeding group of false killer whales, including audio from a hydrophone. We are trying to get the video file transferred into a format we can share here. Please check back for this great wrap-up of the season!
Today we started the day with a beach walk on the peninsula. Good bird watching. We left there and came across a herd of common dolphin, then a little while later we saw a cow and calf pair of Bryde’s whales. Since we have had difficulty locating Xantu’s hummingbirds, we decided to try one more spot on the peninsula. We have seen several at Nopolo in the past so we went there after lunch. There were a couple Xantus seen and about 3/4 of the group got a look. Not a bad day so far.
We thought we saw a group of bottlenose dolphin in the distance after leaving Nopolo, but it turns out they were false killer whales. About 30 whales in the group–what a treat! We decided to drift with them and we saw them eating yellowtail– a fish in the jack family. You could see the fish hanging out of the whale’s mouths. Next we turned on the hydrophone and had a great audio session as well. The whales stayed with us for close to and hour very close to the boat.
We are truly blessed to have seen this. Not sure how we can top that. Just after leaving the false killer whales, four Laysan albatross flew by! We rarely see them in the Sea of Cortez. Wow, what an afternoon. To end a great day of wildlife we are going to end it with margaritas and a buffet on the back deck. We’re exhausted.
More tomorrow, Team Searcher
Hello whalewatchers: We had another great day today starting with a hike at Bahia Agua Verde and then a snorkel session. We left there after lunch and headed offshore. It didn’t take long for us to come across a very large area of birds, dolphin and three humpbacks. They were all feeding on bait fish. There were at least 700-800 common dolphin and who knows how many seabirds: pelicans, boobies, shearwaters, jeagers, gulls and both least and black storm petrels. It was quite a show. We left there and decided to go ashore at Isla Santa Catalina. It was a great time to go ashore with the lighting and after the heat of the day. There were several lizards, chuckwallas and one rattleless rattlesnake, and a pair of zone-tailed hawks. We saw a lot of wildlife today and the weather was great with light winds and sunny skies. More tomorrow, Team Searcher
Lee Morgan’s shot of the rattleless rattler of Santa Catalina!
Hello whalewatchers: We have been really lucky today with good conditons to start the day and a great sunrise at Punta Colorado, Isla San Jose. Everyone went ashore for a hike and then after repositioning the Searcher, they all went for a snorkel session. The wind decreased as we went to the west and we saw a big herd of long-beaked common dolphin and while we were playing with the dolphin, a blue whale cow and calf pair came up. We spent a long time with this pair, great lighting and we were able to get great looks at both whales. Boobies were the birds of the day with blue-footed and brown seen by everyone. There was a blue theme, so I donned my blue whale hat, complete with spout and flukes!
More tomorrow, Team Searcher
Hello whalewatchers: So far a great morning with good weather and plenty of humpback whales to watch. We found a group of six whales to start and eventually they split up and went their separate ways. We had one whale breach directly in front of us at 200 feet. There were some bottlenose dolphin associated with the humpbacks . That made it easy to keep track of the whales as the dolphin hangout right above the whales, so you could watch the dolphin and then the whales would surface in the same spot. An old whalewatching trick of the trade! We see some frigatebirds and shearwaters to go with the whales.
More later, Team Searcher
Photo by John Hunter
Hello whalewatchers: We had a great day at sea today offshore Bahia Magdalena. We found blue, humpback and Bryde’s whales with great looks at both the blue and Bryde’s whales! Lots of birds to look at most of the day with masked boobies the highlight in the morning, and red-billed tropicbirds and Craveri’s murrelets in the afternoon. Too many red-necked phalaropes to count in the late afternoon– there had to be thousands–and plenty of pink-footed and sooty shearwaters.
The weather was great with calm seas and little wind all day. The wind was a little chilly so we are hoping for warmer conditions tomorrow. Frigatebird photo by Lee Morgan Team Searcher
Hello whalewatchers, We had a great day today with excellent whalewatching, and a trip to the mangroves with coyotes and a beach walk. I think everyone had a wonderful day. It was sad to leave, but we leave with great memories and this great photo of the crew with our freinds from Kuyima–Chavalo, Maximo and Ramiro. They are great guys that worked their tails off to make the group happy. Long hours in the panga is always appreciated by all of us. Looking forward to next season! This photo by Lee Morgan.
The forecast looks great for tomorrow, so more then, Team Searcher
Hello whalewatchers: We started early today and the weather and whales are cooperating! Everyone has had a close encounter with a gray whale cow and calf, as you can see in my snapshot. What a magical place this is. We are a little sad because today is our last day of the 2013 season in this special place. Hard to believe we are on trip #6 already. Laguna San Ignacio has been great to us this season. And it’s been another great year working with our friends here in the cooperative, Ecoturismo Kuyima. More later, Team Searcher
Hello whalewatchers: We had another great day in Laguna San Ignacio with clear skies and light winds for most of the day. Everyone had a close encounter with a gray whale today. There is still a good amount of whales here .. The census three days ago counted 53 cow/calf pairs and five single whales. The calves are definatley bigger this trip. Looking forward to tomorrow. David Cohen and Jim Graham say the gray whale watching was so good they had to have a beer when they returned to Searcher.
We will turn the generator off and look at the stars tonight. Very clear skies today so we should be able to see alot.
More tomorrow, Team Searcher
Dear friends: I will be receiving a full report Thursday morning, but all is well aboard Searcher! They had a wonderful day ashore at Isla San Benito west. Their walk took them to some crowded elephant seal coves as many seals had returned to the island to molt. They found a cove of Guadalupe fur seals (photo by Chris Shields) as well.
Back aboard, they travelled south and found both a fin and a blue whale, and a long seabird list. I hope to post more details tomorrow.
And our dear birthday girl, Sabby, had a nice round of “Happy Birthday” after dinner!
Many thanks to Liz Leyden (from an earlier 2013 tour) who sent this photo remembrance…
The trip is well underway and there was a terrific seabirding day yesterday, as it was an entire day at sea. There was a stop at Islas Todos Santos to observe harbor seals, elephant seals, and some nesting birds. They also spotted two humpback whales and a large sunfish. However, the ocean has a large swell right now, so the viewing conditions weren’t ideal. That swell is diminishing and conditions will improve. This morning (Wednesday), they will be anchoring at an island for a wonderful walk around a remote island with wildlife, including elephant seal weaners (photo by Rob Nawojchik).
John Hunter captured this photo of our crew “on the roof,” looking in every direction to spot wildlife. No high-tech equipment besides good binoculars–just lots of experience, long hours, trained eyes, never giving up, and help from everyone’s eyes on board. “Hey, I see something over there…”
Guests from all over the world are joining us for a Baja Whalewatching tour, leaving tonight. They are coming to us via a wonderful UK outfitter, BirdQuest. Stay tuned for the daily reports!
A beautiful photo card…nice work capturing the leaping dolphin, Liz!
Howdy whalewatchers, We enjoyed another beautiful day on the Sea of Cortez with calm seas and no wind. After our morning walk and snorkel at Agua Verde, we left and found another large group of common dolphin with two humpbacks with them. A humpback breached right in front of the boat! After that we headed south and the mammal life was slow, but we saw lots of manta rays and striped marlin. And to finish the day we had a really good look at two red-billed tropicbirds. We had our back-deck BBQ dinner too!
Good whalewatching and observing nature as it comes to you,
Capt Aaron and Searcher crew
Howdy whalewatchers, It was another wonderful day on the Sea of Cortez. We started with a walk on Isla Santa Catalina and then a short skiff ride off the island to get splashed by common dolphin who were feeding on bait fish hiding under the skiffs! Birds were also getting in on the program. After lunch we headed west in look of more wildlife and today was the day of the dolphin. Our first group of bottlenose dolphins (about 100) put on an excellent show, jumping off the bow and in our wake. The second group was a bit smaller but did the same show–jumping and putting on a great show of acrobatics. We didn’t see a large whale today. but we’re gonna try again tomorrow after our morning walk and snorkel at Bahia Agua Verde.
Good whalewatching and observing nature as it comes your way, Capt Aaron and Searcher crew
Howdy whalewatchers, Today started with a sunrise on Punta Colorado and it was stunning. The passengers had a nice walk on the island and then we went off to whalewatc. We didn’t go more than a mile off of the island before we encountered five blue whales and we were fortunate to have them fluking for us. After that the wind backed off to nothing and we saw lots of mantas jumping and a few marlin. We saw a couple of fin whales that were headed south and so we left them and headed north. We watched the sun setting over the Baja peninsula with a herd of 2000 long-beaked common dolphin feeding on bait and birds joining in. So we’re off to Isla Santa Catalina for a morning walk on the island, and then off to find some more wildlife.
Good whalewatching and observing nature as it comes to you, Capt Aaron and Searcher crew
Howdy whalewatchers, We had another wonderful sunrise and then all I can say is “humpbacks humpbacks humpbacks!” They put on a show for us with jumping, flipper flapping and tail lobbing. We had three whales breach, one after another and our finale was the best. We had two jump a few times right as everyone was having lunch, making great scenery for the view windows in our restaurant! Along with calm seas, blue water and sunshine, it was another perfect day aboard Searcher.
Good whalewatching and observing nature as it comes your way,
Capt Aaron and Searcher crew