Practicing Whale Watching

July 1, 2021

Author: Payton Schlewitt, University of North Carolina, Wilmington / B Watch

Tadhg showing us proper whale watching practices

Tadhg showing us proper whale watching practices

Ship's Log

Lat: 31° 44.1’ N /  Lon: 119° 06.7’ W

305° psc

4.4 kt

Sail Plan
Mains’l, main stays’ls, forward stays’ls

Cloudy, complete stratus cloud coverage

NW Beaufort Force 2

Description of location
Heading NW into the California Current, South of the Channel Islands

Souls on Board

After sailing south to near the U.S. - Mexico border, where a patrol helicopter monitoring unauthorized crossings gave us a fly by, we turned around to head back up North into the California Current before we ultimately head out West and towards the center of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Before yesterday I had never seen a whale in my entire life, but as of today I can confidently say that I have seen at least 20+ whales, most of which were finback whales which are the second largest animals in the world, and 1 whale tail! No breaches yet, but I’m sure that everyone on the boat has their fingers crossed.

A Mola-mola

A Mola-mola trying to make friends with a Shearwater.

I’ve already had so many first sighting on this trip, like my first mola-mola (Sunfish), some absolutely mind-blowing bioluminescence from thousands of pyrosomes, some sea lions, and my first whale sightings. The food onboard has actually been much better than I expected and I certainly wasn’t expecting fresh baked bagels (Thanks Cookie!). Even though we are only a handful of days into our trip, at this point I think it is safe to say that I don’t have a sleep schedule anymore and I’ll be getting up at 0100 today (1:00 am) today, or I guess tomorrow, for dawn watch, but our watches rotate so thankfully I only have to do that every three days. I am absolutely exhausted, but I can’t let that slow me down this early in our voyage. Gotta stay awake for all the cool stuff we have yet to see!

- Payton Schlewitt, University of North Carolina, Wilmington / B Watch

PS: Shout out to my homie Chris! Happy birthday dude, sorry I couldn’t be there for your 21st.

Contact: Douglas Karlson, Director of Communications, 508-444-1918 |

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