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A barrel-rolling Minke mugging and more…

2020 07-09 SB Channel – Far East

Skies ranged from dense, low fog to high stratus, to areas of wonderful sunlight…all on flat, glassy seas. Captain Dave and the crew of the Condor Express ran to the “far east,” which in our parlance is not China or Thailand, but Anacapa Island and Pedro Point, Santa Cruz Island. Sightings today included: 2 Minke whales, 150 offshore bottlenose dolphins and 600 long-beaked common dolphins. The numbers alone don’t tell the story.

On our way towards the shipping lanes north of Anacapa Island, after passing Platform Habitat in moderate low fog, a single, large Minke whale located the boat. As Dave tells it, “we got mugged.” The Minke swam down the port side, very close to the port hull, and did a slow barrel-roll. It seemed to the crew that the whale was taking a good look at us. It proceeded to dive under both hulls and repeated the barrel-roll along the starboard side. Unlike the Minke whales of the St. Lawrence sea way and other far-away places, Minke’s on the west coast rarely exhibit these types of “mugging” behaviors. It was a jaw-dropping, spine-tingling and general metaphor-producing sighting.

Later two large groups of wonderful offshore bottlenose dolphins also located the Condor Express. The first group was a nursery pod and chock-full o’ calves. Marvelous! A second Minke was watched, but it was very businesslike and acted more like our typical Minke observations.

The ride home was festooned with pod after pod of long-beaked common dolphins. They rode our bow, side and stern waves. Back in The Lanes, we waited a while for a large and fast container cargo vessel to pass in front of us. This gave great looks at one of these wonderful ships and the containers fastened to the decks.

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

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