Sunday, June 25, 2006

Whale Watching in the Channel Islands

On Saturday, we took a 65 foot tour catamaran out of Ventura Harbor, with the original intent of seeing Blue Whales. Mary Ann had taken the trip two years earlier and had seen several, but this was early in the Blue Whale season, and we've learned from experience that wild animals don't really work on a schedule. At least we were on the boat on time -- except Mary Ann had to race back to the RV because she forgot to bring her lens cleaning kit. Here you see her heading down to the boat.

Mary Ann's lens of choice for this trip was her 800 mm, a huge hunk of iron and glass -- definitely not something you use hand-held. So, she brought her tripod and bungee-corded it to the railing.

Early on the trip out, we saw several dolphins. This shot was was from the third or forth group we saw -- a California White-sided Dolpin, they tell me. And no, Mary Ann didn't take this shot. I did with a little lens. I caught it just as it was blowing.

There were large numbers of animals out there in the Channel. Sea Lions playing in the kelp beds, and the occasional pelican startled by the oncoming boat.

But, this is what we do. Here, Mary Ann is taking photos of the Humpback Whales we saw. I was behind, running errands like taking each filled memory card down to transfer its photos into her laptop, so that she could keep at it, no matter how many shots it took.

Times like this are fun. Yes, I get my writing done, but helping her get her nature shots is important too.

Finally, after many whale encounters (I lost count -- more than a dozen, less than two dozen, all humpbacks), the captain couldn't stay any longer and we completed the tour, heading over close to the island and picking up day hikers that had been taken over by another boat. On the way we saw many sea caves, and one of them was so large that he took the entire two decker boat inside. Then, back across the channel, arriving an hour or two later than our official ending time. It was a nice time, and sooner or later, expect to see some spectacular whale shots over on Mary Ann's website.


Scott Cupp said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all.

Henry Melton said...

Mary Ann has also put her whale watching blog entry complete with links to much more dramatic whale photos on her main site. It's especially interesting to compare my shots of her taking the pictures with the photos she took.