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20+ blue whales including a young calf that MUGGED us!

Image: A tiny juvenile blue whale mugs the Condor Express.

2024 06-12 SB Channel 

It was another “June type of day” with flat calm seas and a thin, high overcast layer that persisted all day. Captain Dave and the crew went to the far eastern end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island where there has been a huge concentration of subsurface krill.  This has attracted lots of large whales. Sightings today included: 20 giant blue whales, 3 fin whales, 2 humpback whales, and 800 common dolphins.

We found common dolphins in small herds 1 mile from the harbor, 3 miles from the harbor, and a larger pod in The Lanes. Most were intent on feeding, but a few came over and rode our wake waves.

There was a super concentration of whales in approximately the same location as yesterday. We were just south of The Lanes adjacent to the eastern end of Chinese Harbor. We moved east from there and ended up adjacent to Scorpion Anchorage.

Captain Dave describe the scene: “spouts and tail flukes everywhere.“ Most of them belonged to giant blue whales. The first pair, however, turned out to be a mother and calf humpback whale. Mom was an old friend of ours known as Scarlet, and this is the second calf we have seen her with over the years. The duo immediately came to the boat. The little calf became super friendly and swam around both sides of the boat, as well as under the bow. Their fans on board were ecstatic. (See today’s photo for an example from my archives).

After our humpback whale encounter, we looked around and saw a group of six blue whales in one direction, and at least 12 more in another direction. All were very close to the boat. In addition, there were many more spouts in the distance, especially to the east of our location. At no time did we actually see krill on the surface, but we did see what appeared to be a near-surface sideways lunge feeding episode by one individual. Evidence of krill was found here and there in the form of the usual red digestive deposits.

After a long and epic session with the giant blue whales, we moved a short distance to the east and found three large fin whales traveling in a straight line, one after another. They stopped, and there was a bit of rolling around and engaged what might have been socializing.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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