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This is a trip report for the Shearwater Journey's pelagic trip from Bodega Bay to Bodega Canyon on September 16, 2005. The highlight was a COOK'S PETREL, which was eventually seen well by everyone on board the boat and photographed! Remarkably, the petrel was only about 20 miles offshore, very close for this species. Also, remarkable was the fact that it seemed to stay around the same general area from about 10 am until after 3 pm, allowing us to refind it twice after the initial sighting. The Cook's Petrel seemed to be feeding on some naturally occurring oil slick, along with some Risso's Dolphins and couple of gulls who were being pursued by a SOUTH POLAR SKUA.
Here's the story: We departed Port O'Bodega at 7 am under good conditions.We found many of the usual fall seabirds. Soon the wind picked up and whitecaps appeared. We headed for the area above Bodega Canyon. As we turned to go down the canyon, Al Jaramillo began yelling, "Pterodroma"! And, then, it was shouts of "Cook's Petrel"! All eyes searched for the fast-flying petrel, but only a handful of people actually saw the bird. We immediately dumped out a large oil slick, and sat on it for a solid hour. Nothing. So, we proceeded on our course. After several hours, we lost most of the shearwaters, and I decided to turn back toward the area in the canyon where we had seen the Cook's and other tubenoses. Steve Howell suddenly spotted the Cook's Petrel again, feeding on the previously mentioned slick along with the skua. Again, the views were brief, but more folks on board saw the wild pterodroma this time! Again, we put out cod liver oil, and sat around. Almost an hour later, Jennifer Green announced that the bird was coming in from the stern of the boat. This time, the Cook's Petrel flew very close to the boat, maybe within 25 yards. The photographers snapped away on their digital cameras. And, this time, everyone on board had excellent views of the bird!!! Success! We really nailed it. This was extremely satisfying. Cook's Petrel has not been found out of Bodega Bay since 1986. It was only 200 fathoms deep where we recorded these sightings. It does seem to be a "good" year for Cook's Petrel, although most records have been much further offshore.
The Shearwater Journeys' September 25 Bodega Bay trip is SOLD OUT, however, I have added another trip on Monday, September 26th. If you would like to make a reservation for this trip, please send a check for $170 (includes fuel surcharge) to Debra Shearwater, POB 190, Hollister, CA 95024, AND email me, or phone me at: 831/637-8527. I will return your call on Monday, September 19th when I return to the office.
In addition, we still have openings on this Sunday, September 18 from Fort Bragg. If you are interested, please show up at NOYO HARBOR in Fort Bragg at 6:30 am. The name of the vessel is Trek II and it is parked near the Wharf Restaurant. Easy to find. Dress warmly, bring lunch and drinks.The boat fee is $170, The leaders are Bert McKee, Clay Kempf, Steve Howell, Lisa Hug, and Debra Shearwater.There is plenty of room on the boat.
The full trip report for the September 16, 2005 pelagic trip from Bodega Bay follows:
SOUTH POLAR SKUA-11
CALIFORNIA SEA LION+
STELLER'S SEA LION-1
PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN-28
The leaders were: Al Jaramillo, Steve Howell, Jennifer Green, Lisa Hug, and Debra Shearwater.
Upcoming Shearwater Journey's trips are as follows:
FORT BRAGG: Sep 18 & Oct 16- plenty of spaces open
BODEGA BAY: Sep 26 & Oct 10 & 14- plenty of spaces open Sep 25 sold out)
OFFSHORE MONTEREY/ALBACORE:Oct 1 & 9 (limited spaces open)
MONTEREY BAY/SEAVALLEY & STORM-PETRELS: Sep 23 (Sep 24 sold out), 30 & Oct 2 (limited spaces), 7, 8, 11, 21 plenty of open spaces
This is Shearwater Journey's 30th year of operation, and it sure has been a real treat!
Hoping to see you "out there",