June 30, 2005 - Close Encounter
of a Blue Kind
by Captain Dave Anderson
a week! We saw lots of common dolphin, bottlenose
dolphins, a few Mola mola’s, and even an elephant
seal, (that did not disappear like they usually
do as soon as we got near it). But the big news
is the blue whales.
Saturday Morning we left the harbor at 8:oo am
just ahead of the Ocean Institute’s boat the Sea
Explorer. Mike Bursk, skipper of the Sea Explorer
and my friend, called me to let me know they were
off to do one of their blue whale trips - they
do about three trips a summer looking for blue
told him I would let him know if we saw any, (since
we are always looking for these awesome giants
on our trips). Mike said he was planning on heading
out near Catalina to search and was not due back
till about 5PM. He confided in me that he was
not very optimistic since none of the fisherman
he had talked to had seen any blues around, and
we had not seen too many around here.
8:30 AM, I turned around to say something to Tom,
who was driving the boat, when a passenger swore
he saw what looked like a whale’s tail in the
distance up ahead.
called Mike and we all waited and watched to see
if it were true.
the Sea Explorer and our boat dolphinsafari.com
were following not one, but three blue whales
that were all moving together up the coast.
three whales took turns getting close to our boats
and Angie Cowan, one of the crew of the Sea Explorer,
and I took turns taking photos of each other’s
boats. It was awesome fun and our passengers were
delighted. By 10:00 am I asked Mike if he was
ready to take his passengers back to the dock
or would he try and keep them entertained till
5:00. He agreed that the rest of the day would
probably be anticlimactic but they would go and
search for more cetaceans.
the next trip we got out near where a different
blue whale had been spotted and shut off our engines.
The whale surfaced nearby and started to turn
towards us. It kept coming at us and went down
just in front of the boat, (See Photo), so breathtakingly
close I could have leaned over the side and touched
it, and then it went down right under us. I decided
to make sure it knew we were there, so I had Tom
turn the engine back on, in neutral, so it could
hear us. It surfaced just beyond our stern. Wow!
Tom said that was the closest he remembered one
getting to us in the four year he’s been working
saw blue whales on all four of our Dolphin and
Whale Safari’s that day and one more on Sunday
and then Monday we saw a blue whale on both trips.
Capt. Dave Anderson
Dave Anderson runs Capt. Dave’s Dolphin &
Whale Safari out of Dana Point Harbor. He recently
completed the award winning documentary film “Wild
Dolphins and Whales of Southern California.” Capt.
Dave will be sharing his photos and stories and
letting us know what he and other skippers are
seeing off the Orange County coast.
a daily log of sightings see www.dolphinsafari.com
or call 949 488 2828.