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6 giant blue whales get up-staged by a tiny Minke whale.

2020 08-30 SB Channel

Magnificent giant blue whales up-staged by tiny Minke whale.

Spectacular weather and sea conditions once again led us to one of the most awesome cetacean-packed days we’ve had this summer… and that is saying a lot!. Captain Colton and his keen-eyed crew took us across the Santa Barbara Channel to the eastern region of Santa Cruz Island and back again. Along the way we closely watched: 1000 long-beaked common dolphins, 750 short-beaked common dolphins, one Minke whale, and six giant blue whales.

As we crossed the mirror glass Channel in the morning heading southeast to the “land of the giants” at Santa Cruz Island, multiple pods of 100 or so long-beaked common dolphins located the boat and rode our waves. Some of these dolphin pods also came through the hotspot while we were closely watching the whales.

We recorded six giant blue whales today in the same general vicinity as our previous good luck sessions this week. For once, none of the giant blue whales were among those wells we name because of them. They’re only a few tail flukes to see, but given the beautiful clear water and weather conditions, just being out near one of the most magnificent Channel Islands was a thrill.

In the afternoon, as we started to head home, a mega pile of short-beaked common dolphins located the Condor Express. A few of them took up some tail-walking and some others did a bit of high-flying. These guys are so fun to watch!

Okay, I know it is absolutely hard to imagine that we spent our day watching one of the rarest and most majestic animals that ever lived, the blue whale, only to have the show stolen by one the smallest baleen whale in our area, the Minke whale. It was one of the friendliest Minke whales I’ve ever seen and it stayed right next to the boat. First it moved along the port side. Then it went along the starboard side. Then it said hello to all his fans on the bow. This routine went on for about 20 minutes Back-and-forth, back-and-forth. The water was clear and we had full-body views of this wonderful whale.

Commercial traffic today: There was a bit of commercial shipping traffic in The Lanes today, very close to the land of the giants. Around noon, the 270.9 x 42.8 m container cargo vessel Cap Andraeas was seen heading northbound on its way to Osaki, Japan. A bit later, there was a southbound crude oil tanker, the 228 x 32.55 m Nave Ariande passed us heading for the Port of LA. Finally, around 115pm, the 299.99 x 42.91 m northbound container cargo vessel, Ever Smart, en route to Oakland, CA, came by.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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