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A balmy summer day with SO many marine mammals.

Image: A small, friendly humpback shows off some tail fluke moves.

2023 08-25 SB Channel-doc

We left the stratus layer at the harbor entrance and the rest of the day was sunny, clear and balmy. The lightly rippled ocean lasted until after noon, when a light west breeze wafted through the area. Sightings were phenomenal: 4500 long-beaked common dolphins, 5 humpback whales, 100 California sea lions and 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

Not far from the harbor we watched the first of and endless stream of common dolphins. This initial pod was just under 1000 animals, and others throughout the day varied in size. There were numerous anchovy schools on the surface, so many that the dolphins leisurely snacked without attracting too many sea birds. Thus, only a few hot spots were seen despite the number of bait balls.

Around 11am we watched a juvenile humpback that stuck with us for at least an hour. It made several close approaches around all sides of the Condor Express, did a bit of trumpeting, and did some vertical lunge-feeding on a few of the aforementioned anchovy schools. (See this whale in today’s photo).

California sea lions were around the dolphins and whales, often in mobs of 20 or so at a time.

At noon we watched a medium-sized ocean sunfish (Mola mola) that was missing a dorsal fin. It was a cooperative fish to watch, but we wondered if that was because it could not swim properly.

Several more whales were watched, and one of them mugged us several times much to the surprise of its fans. It used the “come up from under the boat and surprise ‘em” technique.

The sightings ended with a marvelous look at a high speed dolphin stampede.

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

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