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16 humpbacks, 2 grays, dolphins and sea lions closely watched today.

2021 05-08 SB Channel

Sunny skies, glassy seas and a gently rolling ground swell made great whale watching conditions today. Captain Colton and his crew closely watched 16 humpback whales, 2 gray whales, 500 California sea lions and 50 long-beaked common dolphins.

The morning run found a hot spot near shipping lanes 15 mile south of the harbor. On the scene the watched interactions between a nice pod of dolphins and a mother-calf humpback pair. Later the little calf got frisky and threw its tail several times at some sea lions that must have come a little too close.

Noon took the Condor Express to another productive zone near the NOAA East Channel Buoy. Here the watched a group of 7 humpbacks feeding mostly beneath the surface but for a few isolated and dramatic lunges. In the group there was another mother-calf pair and the little calf did what best could be described as “mock surface feeding.” It opened its mouth wide on several occasions and “chomped” at the air as though it had actually engulfed a school of anchovies.

The afternoon got started with a fast-moving gray whale mother-calf pair that we followed from Hendry’s beach up to Goleta Bay. Then, about 4 miles offshore, a different group of 7 humpbacks was watched. Again, lots of sea lions were on the scene. One of the humpback whales swooped its tail sideways just at the surface, which could have been a feeding strategy of some kind, of just a creative tail throw. Several of the whales made close approaches to the boat.

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

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