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8-hour American Cetacean Society whale watch: fun and friends.

Image: One of several close encounters (AKA muggings) that happened during the trip.

2023 08-26 SB Channel - ACS

Today was the annual eight hour, 8 AM to 4 PM, private whale watch trip organized by the American Cetacean Society (ACS). Seas were bumpy and it was moderately breezy as we left the harbor and it continued until we were well to the west and in the lee of Point Conception. Thereafter, seas were moderate and it became warm with blue skies. Sightings for the day included: 2 Minke whales, 10+ humpback whales, 6000 long-beaked common dolphins, 300 California sea lions and 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

Many large groups of dolphins had sea lions embedded within. When you saw animals purposing along over the waves, they weren't just dolphins. Many of the whales kicked up their tail flukes and photographers got that special shot.

First thing in the morning, we had 2 individual Minke whales, a large one and a small one, pass by the boat several times as they worked around the edges of a hotspot.

In addition to tail flukes, several whales provided additional excitement as we were mugged to a greater or lesser degree by a couple of them. It was all good.

We pulled up next to a large ocean sunfish (Mola mola). It stayed just below the surface in choppy water, enough to drive a photographer crazy.

After a full day of watching wildlife, Captain Dave took us on a tour of the western sea cliffs of beautiful Santa Cruz Island including a visit inside the worlds longest sea cave, the Painted Cave of Santa Cruz Island. While we were cruising the cliffs and enjoying their majestic heights from our boat vantage point, and adult bald eagle took flight and was being chased at first by a couple of goals, and then by an agile and aggressive peregrine falcon. Once or twice during the peregrine falcon's attack on the eagle, the eagle rolled over and exposed its mighty talons to the smaller raptor.

It's always fun to get together with our whale-loving friends from up and down the coast as this trip has become equally about a reunion as it is getting great sightings like we had today.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, End

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