Both on our return trip back to the mainland from Catalina Island yesterday and on our 30 mile journey today southward to Mission Bay, we were surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of Common Dolphins. They were playing up beside our bow, leaping along both sides of the boat, some up to 10 feet in the air. One fellow put on a spectacular show by jumping clear out of the water and then tail walking, over and over again. Another amazed us by leaping high and then turning sideways to fall, slapping its body on the surface. We wondered if this was just for the fun of it, or if it was a kind of dolphin fishing technique.
With all the commotion and acrobatics occurring around us, it didn't take long for Sophie to roust herself from her usual onboard snooze. We laughed when we saw her standing on her tip-toes, peering overtop of the spray cloths and scanning the horizon for signs of marine life. The show went on for hours and was highlighted by the little yellow throated warbler who was hanging out ondeck, and literally walked in front of her nose, while trying to find its way down into our cabin.
As we approached Mission Bay, coming closer to shore, we were keeping a sharp lookout for lobster traps. Our friends Tom and Jeannie had called our cell earlier in the day to report that they'd had to wind their way carefully through mine-fields of them on their way into the Bay. Our first sighting turned out to be a big old seal, floating lazily on its back on a pile of kelp, fins and tail held up in the air... waving at us as we motored by. Sophie eyed it suspiciously... such a new thing for her to be on high alert while onboard. "Welcome to your new life Sophie - ship's dog on wildlife watch."