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9 Humpbacks, 35 Risso’s, 800 Commons and More.

2015 07-20 SB Channel

Captain Dave and the crew racked-up a nice mix of both the abundance and diversity of cetaceans today with a total of 9 humpback whales (more in the area), 800 long-beaked common dolphins, 35 Risso’s dolphins, and a bunch of California sea lions.   It was an afternoon trip with very humid air from Hurricane Dolores, but the sea had no swells and ranged from drop dead glass to a very light chop. Here are the details:

We left the dock at 100 pm and within a half-hour we found a productive area about 5 miles south of Hope Ranch. There were 6 #whales and all 800 #dolphins here. Some instances of surface lunge feeding by the humpbacks were observed, but the lunges were horizontal, moving forward while “chomping” the surface for small bait balls. We stayed with this hot spot for a long time and moved from one activity zone to the next. At 245 pm we headed in the general direction of Santa Cruz Island.

At 330 we were approximately one-half mile north of the west end of Santa Cruz Island and found 2 more whales. One lunged one time only, and there was no other marine life near the spot. We headed along the face of the island and into the world-famous Painted Cave. A few pelagic red crabs were on the surface along the mouth of the Cave.

We headed away from the Island and set a course for home at 355 pm, but not too far away from the Painted Cave we encountered a widely scattered pod of at least 35 Risso’s dolphins. There were several cow-calf pairs in the mix. We enjoyed closely watching these large white dolphins for 15 minutes and pressed onward. 12 minutes later we found a mob of juvenile sea lions porpoising and about 20 minutes after that we saw a single humpback whale throwing its tail around for a few minutes and making a big ruckus.

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

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