Monday, June 10, 2013


Pomarine Jaeger, dark morph, Stercorarius pomarinus, a sure bet on our offshore Albacore pelagic trip, often numbering more than a hundred. 
Image, courtesy, Doug Koch, copyright. 


Some years, migratory albacore, a type of tuna, come to the Monterey Bay area. Sometimes, they are within reach of a one day trip, sometimes not. Their presence causes a hot stir among fishermen. September is often the best month to try to catch one of these prized tunas. Whether albacore are present, or not, we still operate the albacore trip. Usually, but not always, we go 20 to 45 miles offshore in search of a warm water break. If we can find a "hard edge" in the temperature break, we will likely find the albacore and the seabirds associated with them! The prized and highly sought after species include: SCRIPP'S, GUADALUPE and CRAVERI'S MURRELETS and LEACH'S and LEAST STORM-PETRELS (not usually found on most Monterey trips). Rarities on this offshore trip have included RED-TAILED and RED-BILLED TROPICBIRDS. One year when albacore were not found off Monterey, I elected to go where I had previously found large concentrations of feeding seabirds. On that day, we set a world record for the second time by finding EIGHT SPECIES OF SHEARWATERS! STREAKED SHEARWATER and BROWN BOOBY were among the highlights of that day. Shearwater Journeys holds the world record, twice over, for the highest count of shearwater species recorded in one day! On almost every albacore trip, we record high counts of POMARINE, PARASITIC and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS. Some trips have recorded more than 100 Long-tailed Jaegers. This is the single best trip where SOUTH POLAR SKUA is practically guaranteed. Photographic opportunities of jaegers can be outstanding. We typically find Black-footed Albatroses. Scattered storm-petrels appear at dawn, but sometimes, we have encountered flocks of hundreds on the water in rafts. Tuna fishermen refer to BULLER'S SHEARWATERS and ARCTIC TERNS, as "tuna birds" because they are often associated with albacore. Buller's Shearwaters can sometimes be found, sitting in flocks of 50-300, presenting stunning photo-ops as they take off in flight like a ballet. Of course, if we do find albacore, we shall try to catch one or two. You can take your hand at it, too. But, fishing is not the sole purpose of this trip. Albacore trips have proved to be excellent for sighting HUMPBACK, BLUE, FIN (sometimes) and BAIRD'S BEAKED WHALES. 

This trip can easily be combined with another Monterey trip (there are many surrounding this date), or one of the Half Moon Bay departures, September 8 or 9. Past Trip Reports can give one an idea of the species list. This trip sometimes covers three counties: Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Mateo.

DEPARTURE: 5:30 a.m. SHARP. Be there about 5:15 a.m. Allow time to park and walk to the boat.
RETURN: 5:30 p.m, exactly.
PARKING: Same as for Monterey trips. 
PRICE ADJUSTMENT: There will be a price adjustment for this trip, as the cost of the boat has changed by $1000 for this trip. Yeah, that's up, not down. Please be prepared and bring $25/per person, cash to the dock. Exact amount will speed things up for an on-time departure. 
FOOD & DRINKS: Please bring all food & drinks with you. It will be a long and hopefully, productive day! 
MOTELS & RESERVATIONS: See Monterey trips. This trip typically sells out every year.
In the land of midnight sun,
Debi Shearwater

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