Pacific Coast Pelagic Cruise

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Spring dates: May 9-13, 2018

Our spring and fall pelagic cruises are multi-day trips aboard commercial cruise ships whose routes provide a good offering of avian pelagic possibilities. Our Pacific Pelagic Cruise trips travel back-and-forth between Los Angeles, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. Going north in the Spring and south in the Autumn. Our Spring 2018 Pacific Coast Pelagic Cruise features a stop on Vancouver Island where an excursion to observe displaying Eurasian Skylarks will be offered.

If you are one who easily succumbs to seasickness, this is a fabulous—and stomach calming!—way to see pelagic species…with all the comforts of a full service cruise ship! Our Spring 2018 Pacific Pelagic Cruise is aboard the 951ft long Emerald Princess. A luxury, full service cruise ship, Emerald Princess provides us an incredibly stable platform to view birds, covers the Pacific Ocean from Southern California to Canada with creature comforts that make this an eminently enjoyable deep-sea pelagic trip.

 

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One of the Princess Cruise ships we will be abord.

The majority of our days at sea are spent on the bow of the promenade deck, moving from one side to the other if weather conditions warrant. Here, several stories above the ocean, you have a huge field of view when on watch that allows scanning for pelagic birds and marine mammals with ease. The promenade deck is covered, the ship is large and stable enough to allow the use of spotting scopes and the list of pelagic bird species is long and filled with potential deep-water goodies.

Our cruise begins in Los Angeles. We should find a good sampling of near-shore pelagic species as we begin our cruise northward. Before the sun sets we hope to see Royal and Elegant Terns, Pigeon Guillemot, an assortment of gulls and Black-vented and Sooty Shearwaters.

As the sun rises on our first day at sea, we’ll be in deep water far off California. Here is where we begin our search for expected rarities as Murphy’s, Hawaiian and possibly Cook’s Petrels. Storm-petrels of several species are possible, topped by striking Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels pattering about the ocean all around our ship. Shearwaters are well represented with five regularly occurring species possible. While Black-footed Albatross may be quite common, it’s rarities like Laysan and Short-tailed Albatross that we yearn to find.

Our last full day will be spent on Vancouver Island. We’ll arrange an optional outing to search for birds, punctuated by a dedicated search for Eurasian Skylarks, which should be ‘skylarking’! Pacific Northwest beauties like Northwestern Crow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Harlequin Duck and Golden-crowned Sparrow are likely.

Highlights from our 2017 Spring cruise include no fewer than three Hawaiian Petrels, a double handful of Murphy’s Petrels (several so close they filled your binocular view!), four species of shearwaters, hundreds of albatrosses, thousands of storm-petrels and a good showing of whales topped by many breaching Humpback Whales and prolonged looks at a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale.

It should be noted that this is a true pelagic birding experience and we’ll have two full days at sea, scoping for seabirds from dawn to dusk. Folks can come and go from our gathering on the promenade deck as they like for meals and rest breaks thus making birding much less difficult. And pelagic birding is often difficult. Just much less so when you have all the amenities of a luxury cruise liner at your disposal.

Leader’s Take: Our Pacific Coast Pelagic Cruise is a fantastic option for anyone who gets seasick easily, wishes to search for deepwater pelagic species and do so in comfort. Our 2017 cruise proved that photographic opportunities are surprisingly good as well. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings. Join us and let’s find out together!

Note that our Pacific Pelagic Cruise can be taken in conjunction with California in Spring or NW Washington in Spring tours.

Leader: Kim Risen

 

 

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