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A blue whale, a humpback whale, and dolphins on an invigorating day in the channel.

Updated: May 26

Image: a giant blue whale swims into the on-coming swells and winds.


2024 05–25 SB Channel 


Captain Dave and the crew steered a southeastly course for Chinese Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. It was a gorgeous day with bright sunny skies and magnificent clear vistas showing the islands and the mainland all day. On the other hand, it was bumpy with a wind chop coming from the west. Things got even more “exciting” when we got to The Lanes and the wind began to blow with some strength. Sightings for the day included:  1 humpback whale, 1 giant blue whale, and 300 common dolphins.


The passage across the channel was rather uneventful. But as we reached The Lanes, our first sighting was a juvenile humpback whale. As with all the dolphins and whales to come later, we spent our time watching this big animal ride the waves being kicked up by the nautical conditions. A nice-sized pod of common dolphins came through the area and we left the humpback to watch the little guys surf.


As we moved south, between The Lanes and the island, we encountered a giant blue whale. It was amazing to see this beast head west into the oncoming seas. (See today’s photo for an example). The whale averaged 12 minutes down per dive, and on the surface it took 5 to 6 breaths while completing a circular swim. This circular swimming during surface breathing is a common thing for our blue whales. Perhaps this behavior keeps them oriented on a hotspot below the surface.


You never know what Mother Nature has in store.


Bob Perry

Condor Express, and


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