FANTABULOUS--is that a word? Probably not, but it can be used to describe today's cruise on the Ocean Odyssey. Not only was it sunny skies but a smorgasbord of animal sightings was in store for passengers. Common dolphins greeted us as we departed San Diego Bay—always an indication of a good day to come, and we were not disappointed.
Many animals and birds made an appearance as well as patches of the red tide. First, we saw a breaching humpback whale in the distance. As we approached the whale, it had calmed down and was seen quietly feeding. Two good-sized Mola Mola's (ocean sunfish) were spotted and not long after, a minke whale, one of the smallest baleen whales—a mere 10 tons or so. As we ventured further west, the large blows of blue whales were seen. There were at least three or four of the large blue whales and a fin whale feeding on the plentiful krill. Many on board could see the large mouths of these whales, including their baleen and expanded ventral grooves. The sunny day accentuated the blue whales' turquoise color under the surface, and at one point, three blue whales surfaced side by side simultaneously. Wow! Squid were also feasting on the krill right next to the Ocean Odyssey and we saw hundreds of them. In fact we caught one so passengers could get a good look and then released it back into the ocean. The day was not over; as we headed towards San Diego, two more blows were spotted and then, to everyone's delight, we watched a large pod of approximately 30 Risso's swim past the boat.
During the sightings of the blue and fin whales, one passenger exclaimed, “This is better than Christmas!” Passengers were so excited and those with long lens cameras snapped great photos. I'm sure it will be a day remembered by everyone on board.
Submitted by Whaler Diane