The Girls Are Back in Town
Sunday April 16
By: Robert Tongen
Again this week Lance Pillsbury, Peter O'Sullivan, Bob Glickman, and I launched from Kiddie Beach in Channel Islands Harbor before 9:00 AM. It was just past high tide, the skies overcast, cool, and a strengthening breeze coming out of the west, with what appeared to be mellow seas. There were a lot of seals barking and frolicking at the north entrance to the channel. With the tide in, there was not much beach for them to lay on.

Lance and Bob weren't sure which direction they were going to paddle, but likely south. Peter and I were first to launch. We did not see which direction Bob and Lance headed. When we got to the entrance to the channel Peter noted that the female seals were back and that was likely what the commotion was about. We could not tell if it was for mating or just to get the males to shape up. Peter spotted a lone dolphin in the pond, but then it disappeared. Arriving in the pond, we could see that 80% of the breakwater was lined with pelicans. There must have been a thousand or so. As we slowly paddled north along the breakwater several pelicans flew off the breakwater and landed near us, then proceeded with a bird bath. A ~50 ft section in the middle of the breakwater appeared to have been reserved for Snowy Pulvors. There were hundreds of them resting there.

When we turned the corner and headed out to sea we were surprised that what looked like calm seas were actually producing a mixed sea with short duration swells coming from two directions. It made for a fun paddle as we watched several cargo ships moving in the distance. There seemed to be a flurry of power boats leaving the harbor including the whale watching boats, Ranger 85, Sunfish, and Voyager.

The Channel Island Packers website, Marine Mammal Sightings, shows some interesting facts. On April 9 they spotted 8 Orcas. Last Friday they spotted 29 humpbacks and 900 dolphins. Yesterday they reported 58 humpbacks and 1000 dolphins. We did not see any, but hope Bob and Lance had better luck.

Peter and I paddled back into the harbor past the clamor the seals were making, spotting two of them on Kiddie Beach. We proceeded up the harbor and inspected the progress they were making in riprapping the bank on the island where a new hotel will be built.

The wind was increasing as we arrived back at Kiddie Beach. The seals had left the beach to us, but were swimming inside the swimming rope.

That is the way it was, this Sunday halfway through April 2023.
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