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PELAGIC TRIPS FOR EVERYONE

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  • DEBRA SHEARWATER
    Howdy, Calbirders, Well, it s that time of year ù the summer heat brings on thoughts of the salt life, for me. Since 1976, Shearwater Journeys has offered the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2014
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      Howdy, Calbirders,

      Well, it's that time of year — the summer heat brings on thoughts of the salt life, for me. Since 1976, Shearwater Journeys has offered the most comprehensive schedule of pelagic trips on the West Coast. Departing from four different ports: Bodega Bay, Sausalito, Half Moon Bay and, of course, Monterey Bay, 33 one day trips make up our program.

      There is something for everyone. We welcome (and dearly love) beginning seabirders, veterans of the salt life as well as marine mammal lovers and photographers. A great many of our trips are uncrowded and not packed to the gills, making photography much easier. Young birders have had some fabulous trips with us. California County birders will find that most trips cover at least portions of two counties in one day, a "twofer." So, there is something for just about everyone!

      More than 40 leaders participate on our trips. We have a very high leader ratio on our trips, usually one leader per 5 birders. Most of these friendly leaders have worldwide seabirding experience, and many have been with Shearwater Journeys for several decades. 

      All of the vessels we charter are inspected by the US Coast Guard. All of the skippers of our vessels are extremely excellent at putting the boat in the right position for viewing marine life. 

      Late summer (July) and fall (Aug - Oct) is the best time to search for seabirds. Whether or not any El Nino materializes, remains to be seen. However, even the smallest of warm water incursions can have a great effect on seabirds. Already, a large bubble of warm water has passed along the Central Coast of California during April. The PDO, Pacific Decadal Oscillation my well blunt some of this seasons predicted El Nino. This does not mean one should avoid pelagic trips! Just the opposite! El Nino causes seabirds to wander greatly and may well bring some unusual species to our area. 

      Our first trips depart from HALF MOON BAY on JULY 20 & 26; AUGUST 2, 16, 17, 23 and more in September and October. Half Moon Bay is convenient to folks living in San Francisco, the South Bay, greater Bay Area and Santa Cruz. Most of these trips cover San Mateo and San Francisco Counties. We head over the Continental Shelf and edges of Pioneer Canyon. To find out more about the HMB trips, including Trip Reports, please see:

      We have operated birding trips departing from BODEGA BAY longer than any other operation. More mega-rare seabirds have been discovered from this port, than any other port in all of North America. We have two trips this fall: SEP 1 & 19. We generally cover both Sonoma and Marin Counties, heading to Bodega Canyon and the Cordell Bank. Our epic September 20, 2013 trip to the region produced a record number of 17,325+ storm-petrels: 
      For more information, a long list of the meg-rare seabirds we've discovered here, and trip reports see: 

      Monterey Bay is an undisputed seabirding hotspot. With a submarine canyon that closely approaches the shore, seabirding begins the minute one steps on the boat. Indeed, Shearwater Journeys holds the world record of finding 8 species of shearwaters in one day, two times over. One of those days occurred within one quarter mile of Point Pinos! (If you had been on shore with a spotting scope, you might have seen those 8 species!). Amongst thousands of sooty shearwaters winging past the boat on August 3, 2013, I spotted a Hawaiian Petrel, a life bird for Sandy Komito of Big Year fame! Monterey Bay can turn up incredible seabirds. We cover Monterey, and sometimes, Santa Cruz County. We have 17 trips departing from Monterey, including the Albacore trip on September 13th. For more information please see:

      Our trip to the Farallon Islands on August 3 is SOLD OUT. Sorry. We can put you on the Waiting List. This popular trip sells out every year. Plan early for next year when we bring back our Great White Shark trip. Dates for 2015: August 2 and October 11. See:

      Watch our blog for trip updates and reports at: 

      The complete 2014 schedule: 

      It has been an honor to bring the marine life to so many birders and naturalists for the past 39 years. I hope you will help us celebrate another season at sea.

      Shearwaters Forever,
      Debi Shearwater

      DEBRA SHEARWATER
      Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
      PO Box 190
      Hollister, CA 95024
      831.637.8527

      Zeiss Victory SF Team Member
      Birding Down Under: SubAntarctic Islands, November 9 - 25, 2014 with Debi 









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