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8 gray whales, a lunge-feeding humpback and at least 1,000 dolphins too

2019 02-22 SB Coast

Three Condor Express whale excursions left the docks today, at 9a, 12n and 3p respectively. Weather and sea conditions were ideal most of the day with only a moderate breeze kicking-in during the afternoon. Sightings were phenomenal. 8 gray whales, 1 humpback whale and 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins were closely watched today in total.

All the runs today headed northwest at the start, and the morning trip was no exception. We hit the jackpot just west of the old lighthouse with 3 migrating gray whales traveling together and not far off the beach. By the way, all the gray whales were seen within one mile of the shore today. Later in the morning we encountered several small groups of dolphins.

The noon trip found 2 whales at first, then a third up around Hope Ranch. We tailed them as far as UCSB. On the way home a large, spread out group of many hundreds of dolphins were encountered.

The afternoon excursion found two gray whales migrating about 100 yards from each other off Hendry’s Beach. Nice tail flukes were seen on the second whale. Later we turned offshore and located a couple hundred additional dolphins and then a big surprise. Thousands of feeding seabirds marked a hot spot with large concentrations of northern anchovies on the surface. Here we found a single, large adult humpback whale engaged in surface lunge feeding. It was NatGeo for sure.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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