6 Gray Whales Together

2016 05-06 SB Coast

Very dark skies and flash flood warnings framed the northern view but our neck of the Santa Barbara Channel was partly sunny and warm.  Sea conditions were very good as a light breeze dappled the surface and a long period swell was almost imperceptible.  These were ideal whale spotting conditions and the whales spotted today were correspondingly ideal.  Here’s the story:

12 noon Eric pointed out a group of four gray whales ( 2 cow-calf pairs) just off the Breakwater.  They stayed tight together as a quad pod, circled out around the boat traffic near Santa Barbara Harbor, then finally pulled back into the kelp highway and surf zone up past Leadbetter.  The sightings of this quad pod consisted of a few pairings and also a few foursomes.  Their trek towards Alaska was fairly steady until we passed the Boathouse at Hendry’s.   Here a third cow-calf pair that had been west of us joined up with our foursome and made a hexapod (is that a word?) okay, there were six together from that point on.  Not long after joining forces all 6 gray whales stopped together and did a little playtime with the calves and perhaps some nursing too.  There were frequent bubble blasts, head lifts, rolls, calves on top of moms and a spyhop or two…all just outside the breakers.  This was an epic sighting.

We moved a bit more than 8 miles offshore and found a large aggregation of humpback whale scattered over a mile or so of water.  There were at least a dozen humpbacks around this area, but we only had time to closely watch three of them. Again, the ideal sea conditions with 3 out of 4 Channel Islands as a backdrop, made this humpback encounter very special.

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

PS    Monday we shift the schedule to depart at 10am sharp, and return around 230pm approximately.   Hope to see you on board!

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