We’re now off Anacapa Island, under the first blue sky all week. Mainland mountains are just visible in the haze.
Last night we spent a couple of hours jigging for Humboldt Squid and caught two “small” ones that were the largest squid I’ve ever seen alive. Today, no fewer than three of the Makos we caught had squid sucker marks on them. Because the marks were concentrated on or around the head, it appears the sharks are attacking the squid and not vice versa.
The seas have built during the day, with a 5-foot breaking swell coming from the west, yet no wind. It’s still comfortable; the crests are far apart.
This area is alive with dolphins, and several times today we were treated to the sight of Common Dolphins in schools of dozens, ripping through the surface like tuna, followed by flocks of gulls, pelicans, and Sooty Shearwaters trying to get in on whatever small prey fish the dolphins were chasing.
The morning set garnered two sizeable Blue Sharks in the 6 to 7 foot range, and 5 Shortfin Makos around 4 to 5 feet. The afternoon haul brought five Makos and another Pelagic Ray.
The morning’s last Mako must have just been hooked when we hauled it; it was not tired, not mellow, and not at all pleased. It did not go easy into the cradle, thrashing and slamming so wildly four people had to hold it down before Erick got the blanket over its eyes.
The afternoon swell caused the ship to pitch sufficiently that the cradle and platform were frequently plunged underwater, soaking the scientists working on their knees and bellies, reminding us that the ocean is, foremost, a wet place.
— Carl Safina