Date: Wednesday February 8th, 2023
Harbor: Channel Islands, Oxnard
- Gray Whales – Southbound – 3 (North of Anacapa)
- Common Dolphins
Captain Alex Legaspi of the SUNFISH
On this trip, we were fortunate enough to encounter a massive feeding event shortly after leaving the harbor. Good visibility allowed us to spot thousands of birds circling and diving a few miles ahead of us with no other vessels in sight. This indicates that there is a school of bait fish just below the surface, which is also a good sign that there is other marine life in the area as well. As we motored towards the commotion, we noticed thousands of common dolphins charging in the same direction. A few individuals broke off from pod and displayed impressive agility as they easily kept pace with the SUNFISH, surfing across our bow as we approached the feeding frenzy. Western Gulls, Brandt’s Cormorants, and Brown Pelicans were all present in the thousands, with birds diving in all directions around our vessel. At the same time, common dolphins were darting all around us, pushing the bait fish towards the surface. With our vessel in neutral, we sat and watched for over 15 minutes as the dramatic scene unfolded all around the SUNFISH. The waters around us exploded as dolphins and birds worked together to feed, leaving the water shimmering with scales as they preyed on the bait fish. Several California Sea Lions were also spotted joining in on the action. We continued on to the Anacapa Passage, where we encountered 3 southbound Gray Whales off Rat Rock. Included in this group was a very small individual which is presumably a calf that was born recently along their southern migration route. We slowly followed this group along the backside of Anacapa Island, getting excellent views with each surface interval. As a bonus, our passengers were treated to good looks at the historic Anacapa lighthouse and the famous Arch Rock as we departed.
-Capt. A. Legaspi