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16+ giant blue whales, also a fin whale and dolphin masses

Image: A friendly common dolphin seen in beautiful, mirror glass, conditions.

2024 06-28 SB Channel 

Conditions in The Channel were similar to yesterday. It was glassy and warm near the coast (See today’s dolphin photograph for an example above), but it got windy and rough out on the hotspot. Sightings for the day included: 16+ giant blue whales, 1 fin whale, and 2500 common dolphins.

Dave and the crew headed south in the direction of beautiful Prisoner’s Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. After closely watching a small herd of dolphins just a mile and a half offshore, we spent a lot of time with a mega pod out near The Lanes. There were over 2000 animals here spread out over a mile. Always fun to watch!

Let’s talk about the whales. Our regular readers will know that for a few weeks now we have been fortunate to have large concentrations of giant whales. This is reminiscent of things that took place the last time we had krill of this magnitude, perhaps a decade ago. What is similar, is that we are seeing concentrations of whales moved east and west, but always staying 4- 6 miles north of the island. The submarine topography of The Channel shows a bit of a ledge and drop off at this point. It runs from Anacapa west to the past San Miguel Island.  Perhaps this favors upwelling and fosters the nourishment of smaller forms of plankton on which the krill feast.

The crew estimated at least 20 whales within visual distance today. There were spouts and tail flukes everywhere. Our strategy was simple: stay in one place and wait for whales to pop up to the surface all around the boat. Some popped up very close to the boat. Others popped up and stayed around to take a look. We ended up closely watching at least 16 of these beasts. Breathtaking.

A single fin whale was also in the mix. It seemed to have adopted one of the blue whales so that they both were on the same dive cycle.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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