Sunday, June 9, 2013


Buller's Shearwater, Puffinus bulleri, is a common seabird found on most fall pelagic trips. 
Image, courtesy Todd McGrath, copyright.

Monterey's seabirds are well known the world over, in no small thanks to Shearwater Journeys which pioneered pelagic trips here beginning 1976. For more years that any other individual person or business, Shearwater Journeys has been the single leading seabird company offering the most annual departures for novice and expert seabirders alike. Large numbers of seabirds, sometimes in the thousands, or tens of thousands, feed on the nutrient-rich waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary each fall. This sanctuary is contiguous with the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries, forming one of the largest protected areas in the United States. The main feature at Monterey is the huge submarine canyon which bisects the bay. This canyon is as deep as the Grand Canyon and plays a part in the huge upwelling which brings the cold, nutrient-rich waters to the surface, feeding everything from BLUE WHALES to ASHY STORM-PETRELS. It is one of a very few such rich and diverse areas in the world. Some marine ecologists consider Monterey Bay to be the single richest area in the world. In addition, Monterey Bay is half-moon shaped, lending protection from the prevailing northwest winds. This means that we generally have very good to excellent marine weather conditions, especially during fall migration. What could be better — lots of food and great conditions! Of course, we see far more than birds. Marine mammals also take advantage of this huge concentration of food. From California Sea Lions lazing on the Coast Guard jetty to Sea Otters along the kelp beds, to hundreds of Pacific White-sided Dolphins or dozens of Humpback Whales, there is always something happening on Monterey Bay! 

Here, we present our 2013 schedule of trips departing from Monterey. No other organization offers more trips, nor has the depth of knowledge or decades of experience as Shearwater Journeys does. These trips can easily be combined with trips departing from Half Moon Bay, Sausalito (to the Farallones Islands), or Bodega Bay for a well rounded pelagic experience. It is always best to book more than one trip, from different ports, if possible. Debi Shearwater will be on board every trip. By being out there on so many trips that cover such a large area of the Central Coast, Debi can get a good picture of how and where the seabirds are distributed— something that changes, year to year. Below, we present 15 pelagic trips departing from Monterey Bay. One additional trip not listed below, is the ALBACORE GROUNDS; OFFSHORE MONTEREY trip on SEPTEMBER 7, SATURDAY (see next blog post). You can also view the complete 2013 schedule on our web site. Or, view it in calendar format, here. You can find past trip reports here.


AUG. 2, FRI.
AUG. 9, FRI.
AUG. 16, FRI.
AUG. 23, FRI.
SEP. 6, FRI.
SEP. 10, TUE.
SEP. 11, WED.
SEP. 27, FRI.
OCT. 5, SAT.
OCT. 13, SUN.
OCT. 25, FRI.

Shearwater Journeys is proud to be the ongoing pelagic trip operator for the Monterey Bay Birding Festival. Register now for the festival! Sign up for pelagic trips directly with Shearwater Journeys. 

DEPARTURE: 7:00 a.m. Fishermans' Wharf Monterey. Stop at Chris' Fishing Shop in the right hand side as you walk down the wharf. They will direct you to the boat.
RETURN: 3:00 p.m. Allow for delays.
PARKING: Parking can be confusing in this area, as there are two different wharves. Park in the big lot near Fisherman's Wharf. Follow the signs. Take a ticket from the machine upon entering the lot. Stop at Chris' Fishing and let them know you are on the Shearwater Journeys' trip. They will give you a parking coupon which will reduce the cost of parking significantly. Allow at least 10 minutes to park and walk to the shop, more time if you do not know where you are going. Try to check it out the day prior. 
PRICE ADJUSTMENT: All rates quoted at the 2012 rate. Price adjustment may be necessary at the dockside, from $5-15 per person, payable only in cash. Do not send ahead with your payment. 
FOOD & DRINKS: None available on the boat. Please bring all food & drinks in a small day pack.
MOTELS: There are thousands of motels in the Monterey area. However, they can be fully booked, if an "event" is happening— which is often. Booking motel rooms ahead of arrival almost always results in lower rates, as opposed to walking in the front door without a plan. Motels in the sleepy town of Pacific Grove are located in an especially nice area, with easy public access to birding Ocean View Blvd. for rocky shorebirds. For the Monterey area, any motel along Munras Avenue should be fine. 
RESERVATIONS: Please follow instructions on the web site for booking a reservation. Debi will be working in Norway until July 11th, but will send return confirmation letters immediately once she returns. In the case of any sold out trips, reservations will be confirmed based on the postmark date. 

From the land of midnight sun,
Debi Shearwater


Anonymous said...

I thought this might be fun, but I cannot find anywhere prices and current dates. Are you no longer doing these journeys?

Debra Shearwater said...

This year is the 39th year that Shearwater Journeys trips have operated. YES, we have many trips. See:
Let me know if you have any questions.