Pelagic Trips for Everyone
- Howdy, Seabirders,
Shearwater Journeys' pelagic schedule is available for all birders, beginners, "old salts," photographers and those wishing to experience the world beyond our shores. This year is our 38th year of offering seabird trips and we invite you to join us. Our friendly and expert leaders will be on board to assist you. Booking trips from different harbors can give one a well rounded fall seabird experience.
You can find the complete program of trips at:
If you prefer to view in calendar format:
For more details see:
Monterey trips: (Covering Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties)
Albacore Grounds trip from Monterey: (Covering Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, sometimes into San Mateo)
Half Moon Bay trips: (Covering San Mateo and San Francisco Counties)
Bodega Bay trips: (Covering Sonoma and Marin Counties)
Trips from Sausalito to the Farallones Islands: (Covering San Francisco County)
This represents the most extensive program of pelagic trips on offer for birders, anywhere on the West Coast. There is something here for every birder! Spaces are available on all trips at this time. The October 20th Great White Shark trip has a limited number of spaces available, so book soon. The Tufted Puffin trip, August 4th and the Albacore trip typically sell out every year. Please book early. I can only be reached by email until 11 July, although reservations can still be sent in. Every fall season is different! Get out there!
Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024
Birding Down Under: SubAntarctic Islands, November 9 - 25, 2014 with Debi
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- Hi folks,
In the last few weeks there has been a switch in the waters off central
California, which started cold with all of the food, as one of the fishing
captains described as "squeegeed towards the coast." Specifically talking
about the offshore area between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay, now there
is some warm water coming in offshore, while food rich (based on chlorophyll
charts) cold water is also being transported outward creating
temperature/food breaks offshore. If conditions like this continue, it could
be a good year to see some Pterodroma petrels (Cook's and Hawaiian)
offshore! We shall see. Last year we headed to water conditions that looked
good for petrels and saw Hawaiian Petrel on two occasions from trips out of
Half Moon Bay.
Already on a trip we operated in early May we saw some unusual
conditions. For one, an Ancient Murrelet nearly at spitting distance from a
Brown Booby! Cold water meets warm. One of the few May records of Scripp's
Murrelets in San Mateo County occurred, with the captain mentioning there
had been other murrelet sightings while salmon fishing in that time period.
Paul Lehman reported unseasonal Scripp's from offshore Monterey as well.
Local fishing boats have been recording warm water forage fish around,
including some species they had not recorded for many years. It may be a
year that is not average out there, although admittedly it is difficult to
say what average is on the ocean today!
Our trips are booking fast, but there is still room. Our summer-fall
season begins on July 21st from Half Moon Bay. We will be heading to the
Pioneer Canyon (San Mateo and then San Francisco waters), and if conditions
are there we will be eagerly looking for Cook's Petrel. You never know.
Please send me an email or pay directly with Paypal to book.
We have several trips out of Half Moon Bay this year, as well as Monterey
and Bodega Bay. The schedule can be found here:
and circumnavigations of the Farallon Islands are here:
We are new on the California pelagic scene, but are growing quickly! The
reason for this is that people are coming on our trips and leaving with
smiles on their faces. We try hard to not only find great birds, but teach
about the birds, the ocean, marine mammals while coaching on how to tell
these creatures apart in the field. Alvaro just returned from co-teaching a
tubenoses workshop off Cape Hatteras with George Armistead, (with Brian
Patteson and Kate Sullivan on the Stormy Petrel II of course) as part of the
IFO program of the American Birding Association; we will be doing a similar
program next year in California. We will also be hosting trips for the Santa
Clara Valley Audubon Society, Farallons Marine Sanctuary Assn. Beachwatch
project, and the Gay Birders of North America this year - and look forward
to working with other groups (just send an e-mail).
See you on the ocean!
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- Howdy, CalBirders,It's not too early to plan your fall pelagic trips! Shearwater Journeys has 25 trips on offer this fall season, beginning July 29 through October 16. We have trips departing from Monterey, Half Moon Bay, and from Sausalito to the Farallon Islands.As always, our two departures to the Farallon Islands on August 7 and 14, are booking up quickly. Departing from Sausalito, we sail under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge on a spotlessly clean, stable vessel to see the largest breeding seabird colony south of Alaska. Absolutely teeming with seabirds, the past few years we've also found a number of goodies. In 2015, we observed three species of sulidae: Northern Gannet, Brown Booby and Blue-footed Booby. We have a 100% success rate finding Tufted Puffins, up close and personal. Great photo ops. A trip report is here:We are also offering the wildly successful Albacore trip September 10, departing from Monterey. This 12 hour long trip has produced an incredible number of rare seabirds and marine mammals. This is the single hottest selling trip on our program right now. Our 2015 Albacore trip was a smashing success on every level. To read more about Albacore trips:We have 14 trips departing from Monterey and 8 trips departing from Half Moon Bay this coming fall. For general info:For Reservations and Discounts for the coming season:Please note: I will be out of the office from 15 May through 25 June, leading expedition voyages in the Russian Far East. You can still send in your reservations during that period, though.The Year 2015 El Nino was truly one of the most spectacular years I have ever seen. This El Nino was compared to the 1983 and 1998 El Ninos, as being one of the strongest on record. A tricky thing happened along the Central Coast, though. As warm water pushed all sorts of marine life up to our area, a body of nearshore, cold water staged outside of Monterey and Half Moon Bay. A front, loaded with food for seabirds, materialized making for excellent seabirding! For an excellent writeup about this with sea surface temperature graphs, see:Shearwater Journeys celebrated forty years of pelagic trips in 2015 along with the more than 1100 birders who joined one or more of our 28 fall trips! (All of our scheduled trips operated in 2015 and non were weathered out or canceled for lack of subscription). Some birders did as many as five trips! Every day is different, even from the same port.Birders hailed from 43 different states in the USA and 13 different countries from around the world. (Sweden, UK, Denmark, Singapore, India, Kazakstan, Australia, France, North Ireland, Canada, Germany, Brazil, and Norway). Some birders ticked as many as 25 life birds on one trip! We celebrated every one!In 2015, Shearwater Journeys recorded 18 species of procellariiformes: 2 albatrossses; 2 petrels; 7 shearwaters; 6 storm-petrels and Pacific fulmar. We recorded some 16 species of shorebirds from the boat, mostly along the jetties; 3 sulidae; 8 alcids, including Scripps's, Guadalupe and Marbled Murrelets; 10 species of gulls and terns. A Loggerhead Turtle made a very rare appearance on one of our Monterey trip. Finally, we found an amazing 11 species of cetaceans. Most trips recorded Humpback Whales, sometimes as many as 50, and once over 80 in one day!I am grateful to the generations of thousands and thousands of birders who have joined our trips over these past 40 years. Equally as important are the world class leaders who work tirelessly to not only find seabirds and marine mammals but also to interpret the marine environment in a meaningful way. Our leader ratio is very high, averaging some six leaders per trip.Our 34 leaders in 2015 included: Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Peter Pyle, Gerry McChesney, Mary Gustafson, Dave Pereksta, Todd McGrath, Steve Hampton, Jim Holmes, Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Brian Sullivan, Abe Borker, Steve Howell, Steve Tucker, Will Brooks, Christian Schwarz, Tim Miller, Annie Schmidt, Adam Searcy, Dena Spatz, Lauren Harter, David Vander Pluym, Clay Kempf, Mel Preston, Chris Wood, Jessie Barry, John Garrett, Dave Pavlik, Jennifer Green, Al De Martini, Joel Barrett, Marissa Orega-Welch, and Debi Shearwater. Many leaders have experience leading pelagic trips off the East Coast, Southern California and Texas. Quite a few leaders have worldwide seabirding knowledge and first hand experience.Personally, I am grateful for the many decades of riding the bounding main with so many wonderful birders. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that a love of the sea would be shared with so many. It has been and continues to be a marvelous adventure. I hope to see you out there — like so many generations of birders!Shearwaters Forever, (really)Debi ShearwaterP.S. Get ready — as I mentioned last year, La Nina, is on its way!
- Howdy, Birders,Spring migration is underway while it seems the heat of summer has already arrived. It’s not too early to plan your fall pelagic trips! Shearwater Journeys has 20 trips on offer this fall, beginning August 4 through October 8. We have trips departing from Monterey, Half Moon Bay, and from Sausalito to the Farallon Islands.As always, our two departures to the Farallon Islands on August 6 and 13, are booking up quickly. Departing from Sausalito, we sail under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge on a spotlessly clean, stable catamaran with excellent deck space to see the largest breeding seabird colony south of Alaska. Absolutely teeming with seabirds, the past few years we’ve also found a number of goodies. Our past trips have included three species of sulidae: Northern Gannet, Brown Booby, and Blue-footed Booby. We have a 100% success rate finding the amazing Tufted Puffins, up close and personal. Great photo ops of not only seabirds, but an unusual view of Golden Gate Bridge— from below. A trip report can be found here:Four over three decades we have offered the wildly successful Albacore trip departing from Monterey at 5:50 a.m. and returning at 5:30 p.m. Always a sell out, this year’s trip is scheduled for Saturday, September 9. This is the single hottest selling trip on our program at this time. Every Albacore trip is different, but many of these trips have turned up either incredible species lists, or outright records, including eight species of shearwaters in one day (a world record), and mega-rare seabirds such as Cook’s Petrel, Streaked and Great Shearwaters, Red-tailed Tropicbird, and most recently JOUANIN'S PETREL (September 12, 2014). To read more about Albacore trips, see:We have 11 pelagic trips departing from Monterey this year in addition to the Albacore trip. These trips run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and depart from Fisherman’s Wharf Monterey. Our Monterey departures typically cover both Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. And, we have 6 pelagic trips departing from Half Moon Bay this season. These trips run from 7 a.m. until at least 3:30 p.m., but as late as 6:30 p.m. and depart from H Dock, Johnson Pier, at Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay. HMB trips typically cover both San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.For RESERVATIONS and DISCOUNTS (booking prior to July 1) for the coming season, please see our web site:Please note: I will be out of the office from 10 June through 15 July, leading an expedition voyage in the Russian Far East. You can still send in your reservations during that period, however.Shearwater Journeys celebrated forty years of pelagic birding trips in 2015. I am grateful to the generations of thousands and thousands of birders, hailing from at least 47 different countries, who have joined our trips over these many decades. Seabirding really is for everyone— the age span on one trip last year was: age 9 to 92.Equally as important are the world class leaders who work tirelessly to not only find seabirds and marine mammals but also to interpret the marine environment in a meaningful way. Our leader ratio is very high, averaging some six leaders per trips. Leaders include: Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Peter Pyle, Gerry McChesney, Mary Gustafson, Dave Pereksta, Todd McGrath, Steve Hampton, Jim Holmes, Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Abe Borker, Steve Tucker, Will Brooks, Christian Schwarz, Tim Miller, Annie Schmidt, Adam Searcy Dena Spatz, Lauren Harter, David Vander Pluym, Clay Kempf, John Garrett, and Debi Shearwater. Many leaders have worldwide seabirding knowledge and first hand experience across the oceans.Some birders have ticked as many as 25 life birds on one trip!We celebrated every one!Shearwaters Forever,Debi Shearwater