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6+ Gray Whales in the Wind

2016 03-14 SB Channel

Captain Eric steered the Condor Express and did the commentary on the PA. It was a moderately bumpy ride with a fresh breeze. A storm front that moistened NorCal and CenCal brought mostly wind and seas to our neck of the Santa Barbara Channel. Totals for the day are simple enough, 6 gray whales were watched closely and there were a couple of more spouts in the distance. All of this was on a single 2½ hour excursion. Here are some more interesting details:

12 noon We had not fully exited the mouth of Santa Barbara Harbor when our deckhand Auggie, with his exceptional eyes, had found whale spouts out past the red buoy and its resident California sea lions. By 1220 we were already following a single, small gray whale up the coast. Having spent a lot of time in and under the ocean myself, I can tell you why our whales today all had long submergence times and short surface intervals.   It is far easier to swim underwater because you don’t feel all the surface waves and chop. I suppose this means conserving precious energy resources for a gray whale that has not fed in a very long time.

Later, around 1240, we located a trio of gray whales that did come to the surface together and spout. There were a few nice tail flukes and a tiny bit of rolling around. We ran alongside and just behind these 3 beasts from Shoreline to past Hendry’s. There were a couple of semi-close approaches as well.

At 145pm we had another single gray whale at More Mesa, and lastly, after a nice, calm, downhill ride home along the beautiful sunny coastline, a final single gray whale just outside the harbor.

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

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