15 humpbacks plus two species of dolphins mix things up.

2012 05-25 SB Channel

Captain Dave reports no wind in the Channel today except for a breeze at Santa Cruz Island. A high stratus layer kept things from over-heating. Close encounters included: 15 humpback whales, 100 Pacific white-sided dolphins, 50 offshore bottlenose dolphins and 200 California sea lions.

A fantastic assemblage of white-sided and offshore bottlenose dolphins was encountered 7 or 8 miles south of the harbor. The offshores exhibited their extreme talents in aerial gymnastics. Soon a very friendly humpback whale, our first of many, visited the Condor Express many times including one visit when the beast was swimming upside down alongside one of our hulls, waving and slapping its huge pectoral fins. Wow!

A few miles further south, still on an island heading, a group of 5 more whales came into view under a huge mixture of active seabirds.

South of The Lanes, and close to the west end of Santa Cruz Island, a group of 7 additional whales was watched. One of the whales on the edge of the group breached several times. Another member of the group was our old friend, Scarlet, who appeared with a small whale but we could not determine if it was her calf. (Ref. Cascadia Research Collective-12451, aka HappyWhale-MN0500066). A large mob of sea lions was also watched at this location.

Dave’s next target was the world-famous Painted Cave, and we slowly passed by 2 more whales as we entered the outermost chamber. After the Cave tour and as we exited, the same two whales had moved slightly east and breached!

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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