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5 Humpbacks & 1 Runs Amok in the Breeze

A full grown adult humpback whale throws its tail in the wind. Bob Perry –

5 Humpbacks & 1 Runs Amok in the Breeze

The breeze kicked up just before noon today and cleared away all the overcast.  The rest of the day we had bright sun and moderate seas…both conditions seem, in my opinion, to occasionally get humpback whales motivated.  We found our first of the total 5 humpbacks just a few miles off Hope Ranch amidst the usual anchovy schools being slaughtered by common dolphins, sea birds and sea lions.  These first whale sightings were a bit fleet, as the whales took few breaths and then stayed down to enable their high speed movement around between the anchovy patches.  From this initial sighting we moved slowly southeastward in the company of many many long beaked common #dolphins.  I noticed a pattern in dolphin behavior that I have seen many times before when the Condor Express is moving ahead very slowly (everybody knows they prefer a higher, more fun inducing, speed).  The dolphins would seemingly “take a break” from feeding with the rest of the herd, and ride alongside the boat at its slow pace.  These appeared to make some of the females more vulnerable to pesky males that frequently caught up with them upside down wanting to mate.  Most of these females rejected the unwanted attention by speeding off, or turning sharply, spyhopping,  or even turning upside down themselves.  These things were seen when no visible bait was in the immediate vicinity.   I’m sure the photos will show some of this.

Soon we found more whales engaged in their short surface times and rapid underwater movement.  Seas were rising in the middle afternoon and white caps were abundant.  Finally a 5th humpback whale was spotted and we gently approached the area.  This whale greeted us with repeated trumpet vocalizations, but was not in such a hurry as its previously described relatives.  It did pass very close to the port side of the Condor at one point, and then, just as we had to turn and head back to Santa Barbara, it began throwing its mighty tail.  This was a very large, full grown #humpback and its tail throws were dramatic and thunderous.  This put the “icing on the cake” and we all went home totally thrilled by these wild knobby headed beasts.

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

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