By Todd Mansur (Captain/Naturalist)

Trip #3

Today Mrs. Luken’s class from Del Obispo Elementary had a great trip. Their timing was great today. They showed up 1/2 hour early. This was good as the weather call was for windy conditions, but at the time of arrival the wind was still calm.

We departed at 0900 with partly cloudy skies and a 3-foot wind swell from the night before high winds. At 0910 as we exited Dana Point Harbor the crew spotted a blow just south of our position. It would turn out to be a small juvenile Gray whale. By 0920 we were in position following this southbound animal just 3/4 of a mile South East of Dana Point Harbor.

We were in 7 fathoms of water 42 feet as we watched the traveling whale. The young whale came up to breath every 3 minutes taking 4 breaths before disappearing into the deep again for a 3-minute dive. Even though the whale never showed its tail or breached we did enjoy watching it travel. Its clusters of barnacles and whale lice were very visible and added to the excitement. At 0950 we decided to leave and search for other animals that might be in the area.

We headed up the coast hoping for a possible dolphin pod or maybe another south bound whale. At 1015 we were called on the radio by another boat that had a pod of dolphins and humpback whale exciting news. At 1020 as our Captain started to head there way we notice another humpback whale throw its tail threw the air like a battle-axe. Wow another one. With excitement we headed that way.

At 1030 we were now 3 miles190 degrees out of Dana Point Harbor. As we approached the newfound Humpback we noticed that it had a pod of Common Dolphins with it. There is nothing better than a multiple species sighting.

At 1045 we were sadly out of time and headed back. And not a minute to soon. As we entered the harbor the wind and swell started to increase. What perfect timing.

76 students and teachers

Total sightings

1 Gray whale south bound.

100 Common dolphins & 1 Humpback whale

GWRT - photo 4 on 2-22-17GWRT - photo 3 on 2-22-17GWRT - photo 2 on 2-22-17GWRT - photo 1 on 2-22-17

 

By Todd Mansur (Captain/Naturalist)

 Trip #2

Mrs. McKenzie – Canyon Vista Elementary.

 1100 We departed Dana Point Harbor Today with doubts. The conditions weren’t favorable. The seas were calm the winds were light at 1-2 knots, But we had thick fog. Everyone was thinking the same thing how are we going to find whales in the fog. 1125 To everyone’s surprise we headed strait to a sighting of Common Dolphin. We were 3.4 miles 220 degrees from Dana Point Harbor.

At least five hundred 175lb. to 250lb. Common Dolphin were playing all around the boat. What a treat for a trip we thought would be spent feeling our way around in the fog. At 1145 while discussing the Common Dolphin our Captain Tom White spotted a whale. A Humpback whale that was swimming in the pod of dolphins how lucky!

So our attention was drawn to this new and wonderful sighting. This was a large 42-foot Humpback Whale. 1150 Now we had not only a large Humpback, but also we still had the Dolphin following the boat around. The Dolphin and the Whale were heading southeast down the coast. The whale was taking three short breaths about 1 minute apart followed by a rising tail and a three-minute dive.

 At 1220 we felt it was time to look for a new sighting and headed northwest. This would be the last whale sighting of the trip. With time left and no other Whales insight we decided to show the student some California Sea Lions. They’re an easy find as the nocturnal animals sleep on most of the buoys along our coast. By 1245 we were leaving our Sea Lions and Heading Back to Dana Point Harbor

Our Trip was a huge success! Not only did we see Dolphins and a Humpback Whale, but also the sun came out warming us up from our trip.

Total Students and Teachers 73

Total Sightings:

1 Humpback whale

500 Common Dolphins

GWRT - photo 5 on 2-15-17GWRT - photo 2 on 2-15-17  GWRT - photo 3 on 2-15-17

 

 


GWRT - photo 4 on 2-15-17

 

 

            

          

    

 GWRT - photo 1 on 2-15-17

 

By Todd Mansur (Captain/Naturalist)

Trip #1

On Kim Brooks Canyon Vista Elementary School trip we had great weather with clear skies. The sight ability was excellent. The ocean surface was calm with 2 knots of wind. The trip departed at 0900 on Monday February 13th.

The first part of the trip was full of hope as we left Dana Point heading west out to sea. At 0925 we sighted California Sea Lions on the navigation buoy off the

Dana Point Headlands. We stopped to see and discuss these animals as they rested on the buoy sunning them selves for the day.

At 0935 we continued to head west when at 0945 a lobster boat reported seeing a gray whale off Laguna. At the same time we had another report of whales just below Dana Point Harbor. We chose to head toward the whales below Dana Point Harbor, as there were reports of dolphins as well.

At 1005 we had our first gray whale sighting. It was two southbound Gray whales traveling in 600 feet of water 2 miles south of Dana Point Harbor. Both Whales appeared to be juvenile. They were showing every three minutes taking three breaths and sounding. No flukes were shown but the whales gave us a good look as we watched from about 100 yards away.

At 1025 a small humpback whale was spotted heading up the coast in 500 feet of water. Our attention was drawn to the new sighting. The young 32-foot humpback put on a great show as it continued to stay on the surface taking more than 10 breaths before sounding for three minutes. Each sounding it put its large tail in the air entertaining our students.

At 1045 we had to head in but even that was full of greetings from small common dolphins as they followed us back toward Dana Point Harbor.

Total students and teachers 72

Total sightings:

2 Gray Whales south bound

1 Humpback whale north bound

20 common dolphins

Taken at Dana Wharf Whale Watching ~ Dana Point

Report and Photo’s by Carla Mitroff – Edited by Deanna Hansen

The Gray Whale Foundation hosted Harold Ambuehl Elementary School~ San Juan Capistrano. Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Tatarian’s classes aboard the Clemente with Capt. Chad and deckhand Marcus at Dana Wharf Whale Watching. Under clear skies, slight sea chop and excellent sightability we were able to observe one southbound gray whale that consistantly surfaced for us to see it’s blows and back but never showed it’s flukes. We also had great encounters with several Pacific White sided dolphin that were feeding in the area as well as approximately a dozen Common dolphin that were headed south and also feeding. We could see 2 gray whale blows in the distance as we headed back into the harbor but didn’t get a close look at them.

Pacific White Sided dolphin.

Pacific White Sided dolphin.

 

Southbound gray whale.

Southbound gray whale.

Pacific White Sided dolphin.

Capt. Todd Mansur heads back into the harbor with the Gray Whale Foundation aka The Gulf of Catalina Gray Whale Preservation & Education Foundation.

Capt. Todd Mansur heads back into the harbor with the Gray Whale Foundation aka The Gulf of Catalina Gray Whale Preservation & Education Foundation.

Capt. Todd Mansur heads back into the harbor with the Gray Whale Foundation aka The Gulf of Catalina Gray Whale Preservation & Education Foundation.

Capt. Todd Mansur heads back into the harbor with the Gray Whale Foundation aka The Gulf of Catalina Gray Whale Preservation & Education Foundation.

 

Taken at Dana Wharf Whale Watching ~ Dana Point

Report and Photo’s by Carla Mitroff – Edited by Deanna Hansen

85 + students from Hidden Hills Elementary School in Laguna Niguel boarded the Dana Pride with Capt. Todd Mansur, Capt. Tom White, Shane Hansen, and Aliard. We departed from Dana Wharf at 9:45am under overcast skies but smooth calm seas with excellent visibility. In just 15 minutes we spotted our first trio of southbound gray whales (3)! They were taking 4 minute dives and showing their flukes often. One of the whales had rake marks from orca teeth and the tips missing off it’s flukes. We were most excited when one of the whale BREACHED! After this great sighting we decided to head further out in search of dolphin. There was not a single dolphin in sight and none of the other boats had reported any sightings either. Have they possibly moved to areas where there food supply is more abundant? As we were headed back to the harbor the fog got thicker but we did manage to find a very large female gray whale in about 600ft depth of water heading south and she showed us her flukes

Tips missing on gray whale flukes

Tips missing on gray whale flukes

The dimples on this gray whale are really pronounced

The dimples on this gray whale are really pronounced

Southbound gray whale just outside the harbor

Southbound gray whale just outside the harbor

Jaw line visible on this gray whale

Jaw line visible on this gray whale

Southbound gray whale flukes

Southbound gray whale flukes

Southbound gray whale flukes

Southbound gray whale flukes

Tips missing off both of this southbound gray whale flukes

Tips missing off both of this southbound gray whale flukes

Taken at Dana Wharf Whale Watching ~ Dana Point

Report and Photo’s by Carla Mitroff – Edited by Deanna Hansen

90+ students from Wood Canyon Elementary School, Aliso Viejo aboard the Dana Pride with Capt. Todd Mansur. Under tough visibility conditions due to morning fog we still managed to find three pods of 3 gray whales each. The first pod would come up for 3 breaths then dive for 4 mins. They changed directions from southbound to northbound which turned into a circular pattern so we left them to watch a second trio of gray whales nearby. Our third pod of whales were the most active as we observed them rolling, showing their pectoral fins, flukes and one BREACHED! Capt Todd once again provided an exciting trip for all under difficult weather conditions. He’s the BEST!

 

Southbound gray whale with mouth showing. You can see it's eye too!

Southbound gray whale with mouth showing. You can see it’s eye too!

Tail end of gray whale breach looking at it's underside.

Tail end of gray whale breach looking at it’s underside.

Southbound gray whale flukes

Southbound gray whale flukes

Gray whale on it's back

Gray whale on it’s back

4th and 5th graders from Canyon Vista Elementary School ~ Aliso Viejo ~ January 30, 2015

Photo was taken from the OCean Adventure out of Dana Wharf Whale Watching by Jeff Marder

 

 

Taken at Dana Wharf Whale Watching ~ Dana Point

Report and Photo’s by Carla Mitroff – Edited by Deanna Hansen

These 4th & 5th grade students were in for a big surprise as they boarded the Dana Pride with Capt. Todd Mansur and Capt. Tom White. These young scholars got  to see a southbound breaching gray whale showing it’s baleen that you don’t see very often. They had a very exciting morning with fluking and breaching gray whales!

 

Southbound breaching gray whale showing it's baleen!

Southbound breaching gray whale showing it’s baleen!

Southbound breaching gray whale!

Southbound breaching gray whale!

What comes up must come down

Down with a splash!

Down with a splash!

Belly Flop!
Belly Flop!
Rake marks from orcas on gray whale flukes

Rake marks from orcas on gray whale flukes

Cute sea lion pup

Cute sea lion pup

There's the dolphin!

There’s the dolphin!

Beautiful flukes on southbound gray whale

Beautiful flukes on southbound gray whale

Southbound pair of gray whales

Southbound pair of gray whales

Beautiful flukes on southbound gray whale

Beautiful flukes on southbound gray whale

Southbound gray whale who's white head was very visible under water.

Southbound gray whale who’s white head was very visible under water.

Flukes of southbound breaching gray whale with orca rake marks!

Flukes of southbound breaching gray whale with orca rake marks!

There's the dolphin!

One of about a dozen feeding common dolphin

 

There's the dolphin!

Saddleback Mountain

Chin lift and splash by southbound gray whale

Chin lift and splash by southbound gray whale

Capt. Kenia and Capt Tom White

Capt. Kenia and Capt Tom White

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taken at Dana Wharf Whale Watching ~ Dana Point

Report and Photo’s by Carla Mitroff – Edited by Deanna Hansen

As these young scholars boarded the Dana Pride with Capt. Todd Mansur they were ready for a wonderful adventure. Under partly sunny skies, calm seas and excellent visibility, students were treated to a fantastic trip with several southbound gray whale sightings including a pair that were swimming with Pacific white sided and common dolphins! One in this pair even breached! We watched them rolling and interacting with the dolphin even doing several chin lifts. Several of the whales showed us their flukes too. At one point we could see whale blows in our surrounding area, close to 10 gray whales were seen by these young scholars.

 

Pair of southbound gray whales

Pair of southbound gray whales

Tagged CA Sea Lion #27939 (female~tag on right flipper). This one was released by Ft MacArthur. I've seen her many times on the Dana Point jetty. 11/18/14, 11/29/14, 12/15/14 and 1/28/15

Tagged CA Sea Lion #27939 (female~tag on right flipper). This one was released by Ft MacArthur. I’ve seen her many times on the Dana Point jetty. 11/18/14, 11/29/14, 12/15/14 and 1/28/15

Southbound gray whale showing its fluke

Southbound gray whale showing its fluke

Pair of southbound gray whales

Pair of southbound gray whales

Tagged CA Sea Lion #27939 (female~tag on right flipper). This one was released by Ft MacArthur. I've seen her many times on the Dana Point jetty. 11/18/14, 11/29/14, 12/15/14 and 1/28/15

Tagged CA Sea Lion #27939 (female~tag on right flipper). This one was released by Ft MacArthur. I’ve seen her many times on the Dana Point jetty. 11/18/14, 11/29/14, 12/15/14 and 1/28/15

 

A trio of brown pelicans a sea lion pup and a seagull in the background on the Dana Point jetty

A trio of brown pelicans a sea lion pup and a seagull in the background on the Dana Point jetty

 

Sea Lion just hanging around with its seagull friend

Sea Lion just hanging around with its seagull friend

 

Southbound gray whale

Southbound gray whale

 

Cormorants drying wings on Dana Point jetty.

Cormorants drying wings on Dana Point jetty.

 

Young sea lion with a bad injury at Dana Point Jetty

Young sea lion with a bad injury at Dana Point Jetty

This cutie needs to bulk up some more

This cutie needs to bulk up some more

 

Taken at Dana Wharf Whale Watching ~ Dana Point

Report and Photo’s by Carla Mitroff – Edited by Deanna Hansen

90 students had an excellent trip aboard the Dana Pride with Capt. Todd Mansur. Sightings included 6 southbound gray whales that showed their flukes, Pacific White Sided dolphin, common dolphin and thermal regulating sea lions. Conditions were terrific with partly sunny skies, calm seas and excellent visibility. The students and teachers were all very enthusiastic and engaging.  The Gulf of Catalina Gray Whale Preservation & Education Foundation thanks you!

Pacific white sided dolphin doing back flips!

Pacific white sided dolphin doing back flips!

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Pacific white sided dolphin doing back flips!

Pacific white sided dolphin doing back flips!

Thermal regulating sea lions

Thermal regulating sea lions

Lots of little pups on the jetty today

Lots of little pups on the jetty today

Pacific white sided dolphin

Pacific white sided dolphin

Pacific white sided dolphin doing back flips!

Pacific white sided dolphin doing back flips!

Pacific white sided dolphin doing back flips!

Pacific white sided dolphin doing back flips!

 

Southbound gray whale

Southbound gray whale

Southbound gray whale flukes

Southbound gray whale flukes