10 or more giant blue whales; we watched 6 in the breeze.

2020 08-25 SB Channel

The sun came out as we left Santa Barbara Harbor and continued to shine upon the Condor Express all day. Fog to the south and west of us never moved into our space. Captain Colton and his crew found rather calm sea conditions for the northern half of the trip, but about mid-way, a fresh breeze kicked up some small chop. Sightings included: 6+ giant blue whales, 100 offshore bottlenose dolphins and 200 long-beaked common dolphins.

About ½ hour outbound from Santa Barbara Harbor a small nursery pod of long-beaked common dolphins showed a bit of interest in the boat. Loads of tiny calves were swimming alongside their mothers and taking joyful leaps in the air. Later, on the trip home, we’d encounter more common dolphins near the harbor, but without calves.

Colton brought us into the western edge of the land of the giants and then, per his strategy, turned east and put the wind and seas astern. After some nice search grids in the area, tall spouts were seen and soon we were in the midst of 8 or 10 giant blue whales. We closely watched 6 of these giants. One of them was a whale we first identified a few weeks ago that has a considerable portion of its tail fluke, on the right side, missing. Is it from an entanglement, a propeller, or some kind of birth defect? We don’t know for sure, but after studying the images I took, I’m leaning towards the birth defect camp.

Tail flukes notwithstanding, there is just about nothing that compares with watching a whole bunch of giant blue whales in breezy conditions and did I mention EXTREMELY clear blue water? Exhilarating!

Seeing you on board!

Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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