SoCal Pelagic Expedition
- NOTE: This is not a commercial announcement. The organizers of this trip,
Don Desjardin and Walter Wehtje will not make any money on this endeavor.
We just want to go birding for pelagics really far offshore.
This announcement is for a four day, four-night deepwater "Pelagic
Expedition" leaving from San Diego in mid-April 2003 (Soft date of 17
April-21 April). We intend to head up past Point Conception, visit
Arguello Canyon, the Rodriguez Dome, San Juan Seamount, and an outermost
seamount 40 miles southwest of Cortez Bank, 150 miles offshore. We will
have three full days of birding along the 2,000-fathom line, and wherever
else the birds take us. Our target species are Murphy's Petrel, Red-tailed
Tropicbird, Horned Puffin, Parakeet Auklet, Laysan Albatross, Black-footed
Albatross and whatever else may show up. April is the peak month for
northward migration for many of these species, and while most sightings of
Murphy's Petrel in California waters are from April, very little is known
about what else we may find this far offshore.
While our primary focus will be on birds, there's also a very good chance
of seeing several species of cetaceans, including Blue Whale, Fin Whale,
Humpback Whale and Sperm Whale. While not guaranteed, our trip does cover
waters where beaked whales can be expected.
If you've birded off the California coast, you're all too familiar with the
trade-offs between comfort, time spent far offshore, and cost. With this
trip we maximize comfort and time offshore, and contain cost. We've
chartered the "Searcher", a 95' long-range sport fishing boat with room for
32 passengers. There are 16 two-person cabins, showers, with all meals and
beverages included. The cost for this trip will be $650 per person. To see
the boat, go to:
Leave San Diego Sea-Landing at 12-noon. Sail northwest between San
Clemente and Catalina Islands and on towards Point Conception. During the
afternoon we should see some of the more common inshore species, such as
Black-vented Shearwater. Once we come closer to the islands we should have
good opportunities for Xantus's Murrelets, and other alcids. During the
night we sail through the Santa Rosa Passage, and on towards Point Conception.
We approach Point Conception during the early morning and head out towards
Arguello Canyon. The whole day will be spent crossing this area and the
Rodriguez Dome. Here we hope to see Murphy's Petrel, albatrosses, and some
of the offshore alcids. After dark we'll head south and slowly cover 50
Dawn will find us at the San Juan Seamount, 100 miles SSW of Point
Conception. During the night and drifting with the current, we will have
put out a tuna oil slick, which should attract a variety of procellarids.
Depending upon what we find we stay here or sail southwards along the outer
edge of the Patton Escarpment, looking for areas of upwelling and sharp
temperature shifts. At sundown we will slowly work our way towards the next
destination, drift and put out a slick, or a combination of both.
Much of this day will be spent more than 150 miles offshore. Here is our
best opportunity for Red-tailed Tropicbird and Cook's Petrel. Few have
birded here previously, so there may be a few surprises in store. During
the day we sail towards Cortez Bank, and head back to San Diego after dark
and arrive at Sea-Landing around 8am, and from there heading out our
If you're interested in this trip, please contact Don Desjardin at
birdpix@..., or Walter Wehtje (after 2 August) at wehtje@...
for any further information. This trip will be limited to 28 paid spaces
and we will be accepting sign ups to hold a place on the boat on a first
come basis. If there is enough interest, you will be notified around 1
September as to what deposits will be required and when they will be due.
San Buenaventura, California, USA