Friday, March 13, 2009

3/12/09 WHALE Report
by Robin

We've been living life to the fullest, inspite of colds & viral bugs. It is a spectacular week to be living in the Cape Canaveral greater area. While the shuttle launch was cancelled on Wed night, that would have been cool for all our tourtists. Thursday, we went out cobia hunting (after a full moon) and ended up seeing whales instead. Friday, we were able to see the TICO Warbird Air Show in Titusville. We've had amazing weather in the lower 80's - full of sun and little wind. Spring Breakers have come from around the country to flood our roads & beaches. Tomorrow, we will go down to the marinas and see the weigh-in for the cobia tournament between the Central Florida fishermen vs the Florida Sportsman fishermen. Afterwards, they have a big fish dinner for everyone to enjoy some cobia.

So back to the fishing part.....

Thurs morning, we were loaded up, about to pull away from the driveway when our eldest runs out of the car to puke on the side of the driveway. Not good. After a 30 minute delay, we (& a bowl & some towels) were headed to the docks. It was probably close to 10am and there still were several boats putting in late. The parking lot was near full.

We were greeted by nice men with machine guns who insisted that a fleet of us cobia fishermen go to the side until a submarine pulled into his basin.

One guy felt like he didn't need to follow the rules. I really hate to poke fun of this guy, but honestly.... who does he think he is?? James Bond? Bond is having a martini, on the left. Two gunners in center. Sub in back-right of picture.

Well, the guys with the machine guns (both boats) reminded him that he was not James Bond. He turned tail and ran.

So, we get that over with and we are able to cruise offshore quickly, heading SE. We stopped a bit early, maybe 40 ft of water and I got up top to look for cobes. We had heard they were further out but we were in 71-73 deg water, so why go further. The only problem was that we didn't see any cobes.

We saw many turtles with no cobia around them.

We saw a few bouys, balloons and miscellaneous things floating in the water.

At one point, two bottlenose dolphins came to join us for a quick ride. They didn't stay very long which was ok with us since we hoped to sight fish and didn't need them hanging around to spook them.

I don't know what it is about the dolphin this year. They really seem to like our bow. (Makes for nice photos) Pretty soon, a couple hrs went by and we started breaking out lunch while our hands were still clean. Our sick son tried sleeping in the "cuddy of death" but that only resulted in one more wave of purging. That was more seasickness than virus. He decided it was better to sleep in the fresh air instead.

It was obvious that I couldn't find anything in the clean water for all the clouds overhead. They put so much glare over the water, so we headed back towards the shoreline where there were less clouds. (pic - looking SE. Clouds were clear to the West/right)

On the way back in, we did come across one more turtle who was snoozing just under the water. I snapped a couple nice shots of him. A turtle we found a few more miles in had a barracuda under it. I was all excited because for a split-second, I thought it might have been our first cobia under a turtle.

Back towards the beach, the water gets dirtier and greener. I took this pic of a Mama & her baby not far off the beach. This dolphin are more shy than the offshore bunch.

So, I'm doing my best to put Jack on a cobia when I see our 2nd tripletail of the day. The first one was on the way out and he spooked at the sight of a shrimp. Imagine that. This one.... oh well.... we were fighting wind and weight of the sinker. Jack took the weight off and ended up making a bulls-eye on his head when the wind took hold of Jack's shrimp and put it there.

It spooked and went under. While spinning around waiting to see if the trip would resurface, I spot a big black thing south of us (Patrick AFB). Um...ok, it sprays mist too. I started screaming, "A whale. It's a whale!!!!" I was beyond excited because I thought we had missed them with reports of some being in Jacksonville already. I missed last year's migration due to boat restoration. I was missing my WHALES!

Above is a pic of the Mama's nose which came right up out of the water. Amazing. What a sight, I can't even explain. These are Northern Right Whales and they're endangered, if I'm not mistaken. However, they pass our area every year and we've always seen one with a calf, so they must be prolific. They're about 25 ft in length.

We stopped our boat and drifted towards shore (& them) and they also must have been somewhat curious because they chose not to dive under and leave us. I put the zoom on and captured this great pic of the baby's head. Mama was close behind, but I was unable to capture pictures of her enormous size due to my batteries running dead (ugh).

Anyhow, we left them alone after that encounter and continued north towards Port Canaveral looking for more tripletail or cobia. Unfortunately, we didn't see any. We also felt compelled to get our son home to bed and let him rest. There's no harm in calling it a day earlier than normal.

While I don't like "skunkings" any more than the other fishermen, I must say it was nice to put up the coolers & tackle quickly. No fish to clean. No stuff to rinse and/or bleach. It was a good family night watching a movie & getting the kids off to bed early.

It looks like Monday may be another good day to go out. Cobia season only lasts a couple weeks and then it's over. They either go back to the bottom or head north.

Happy Fishing!


Sharie said...

Repeat after me:

"I, Robin, will NEVER go fishing again without extra batteries."


I mean, we have to see whales vicariously through you, so you're obligated to get tons of photos. Got that??

How cool that must've been to see a submarine, dolpins, and whales. My kiddos would have freaked. *I* would have freaked! So glad you did get some photos. Just amazing.

Hope the big guy feels better soon.

Deborah said...

These are absolutely beautiful pictures. The water is so clear and pretty. What a blessing to be so close to the sea world!

Connordog said...

That's very cool!!! I wish I was there with you.