Whale Oriented expeditions

[Images from the trips]

First expedition to The Channel Islands off the coast from Santa Barbara, California. Sailing on The 84' schooner Dariabar while affliated with Pelagikos:World Marine Research, we sailed around the Channel Islands looking for a good area for ID work. We were primarily interested in Blue Whales but made all observations available. On this trip we discovered an excellent area for observations of whale activity.

Second expedition to The Channel Islands.
We had discovered what we began to call "whale city". An area on the leeward side of the Islands between Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands. We saw a large number of whales—primarily Blues, but a good number of Humpbacks also. One of our most exciting experiences during this voyage was when seven Blue Whales circled our vessel and simply "played" with us.

Both of these expeditions were part of a Mendocino College program to introduce students to sailing and marine mammal research.

Our third expedition to the Channel Islands was interesting in that no whales showed up at all. We missed the great migration by only a few days. Disappointing but still a good trip for the students.

Dariabar sailed from San Francisco to the Baja California Penninsula and then turned west to Hawaii. We were to be the laboratory platform for Cornell Universities acoustic and behavioral studies of Humpback reaction to the "Bg Sound" during The ATOC experiment (ocean warming). We spent a total of 6 months working with Cornell researchers and students near Kauaii. Fortunately for the whales, Cornell's data indicated no adverse reactions during the time of the study.

At the end of the study, six Mendocino College students joined us for a ten day course in The Ecology of the Hawaiian Archipelago.

I was not to be with the whales again until 2004. Other things were pressing.

I discovered the beauty of Baja California Sur and The Sea of Cortez.

I had 13 people join me in El Cardonal, Mexico for a week of study of the local ecology.

My first extended (5 months) stay in the village of El Cardonal, Mexico where I share some land. Three very empowering events occurred that winter. My first large shark encounter while diving. A very close encounter with a very large blue whale off of Isla Carmen near Loreto and a chance meeting with Richard Sears. Richard has been photo ID'ing Blue Whales in The Sea of Cortez for the past 20 years. His encouragement got me to thinking about doing some whale work again.

I also had 10 people from Mendocino County join me for a week of discovery on the reef and in the waters around El Cardonal.

My second extended stay in El Cardonal included a Humpback photo-ID project described in the article under current research on this site. It was highly successful and I had the help of two delightful young students who may return with me next year. The "good" fluke shots will begin to show up on the site soon.

I will be returning to El Cardonal in January. I intend to continue the ID work and expect that I will be able to show that this area is an important breeding and calving region.


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