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10 humpback whales at a wonderful mugging episode

Image: we got mugged! A humpback does an extended meet-and-greet.

2024 05-18 SB Channel 

As is typical during May and June, today’s trip was mostly gray due to a high marine layer. There were a few more very small sunny spots, or “sucker holes“ today, especially near Santa Cruz Island. Seas were calm. There was no wind. Sightings for the day included: 500 common dolphins, 10 California sea lions, and 10 humpback whales. We ran a track from the harbor towards the west end of Santa Cruz Island.

Just 2 miles out from the harbor entrance, a small pod of very active dolphins located the Condor Express. There was also a small birdnado here, with a number of hungry brown pelicans involved. About a dozen sea lions were in on the feeding.

We continued on our path until we were north of The Lanes. Here we found a larger group of dolphins, a nucleus of 200 animals surrounded by scattered smaller groups. Perhaps a total of 450 dolphins were active in this area.

We moved closer to the island. Soon we were watching an extremely friendly mother humpback with her calf. The pair mugged the Condor Express (see today’s image for an example) for 45 minutes. They hung out on both sides of the boat, as well as the bow, making sure that they were appearing in plenty of selfies all the way around.

Finally, we traveled about 6 miles to the west where we found 8 large adult humpback whales. They were all together in one area, but appeared to be organized in pairs. There was a lot of feeding going on subsurface, probably on krill. There were red deposits on the surface that floated up. This is what we look for as a potential blue whale area for tomorrow.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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The mom was showing off her baby today!!!! Mothers are allowed 🥰

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