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A dozen humpbacks, several hundred dolphins and sooty shearwaters non-stop, all day long.


Image: Trans-Pacific visitors…Sooty shearwater masses.


2023 6-30 SB Channel


A thick, gray marine layer hung above us all day around 800 ft off the ocean surface. The ocean surface was glass flat except after 215 pm when ripples appeared. Sightings were phenomenal: 12 humpback whales, 500 long-beaked common dolphins and 10,000+ sooty shearwaters. No balloons, no sea lions, no sunfish, no Velella.


Throughout the trip, the mirror flat ocean surface was festooned with thousands of sitting/resting sooty shearwaters. These tube-snouts make a giant figure eight migration across the north and south Pacific, and cover both the east Pacific (our side) and west. They go ashore on small islands off New Zealand and Australia where they dig burrows in the ground, lay eggs and rear their young. (See today’s photograph).


Captain Dave and his crew ran southwest, then east and finally completed the circle at the end of the trip by heading west…a big loop! The vast majority of the whale sightings were of single whales…very unique.

Past the Kelp Farm there was a small group of 50 dolphins, we kept moving southwest a mile and found our first whale. It was a very large adult that spent most of its time on the surface heading east. We followed and change course to the east to find a second large whale that showed good and regular tail flukes. This sighting was immediately followed (a slight distance further east) by another single, then two additional whales. The last one did a bit of sideways surface lunge feeding.


Looping back to the west, we found yet another single whale plus a mother with her calf. All three were logging on the surface…nap time! Heading home we found our only mega pod of dolphins, about 450 in this group. Soon thereafter were 2 whales, then another single that breached twice behind the Condor Express. Closer to home, another whale breached next to the boat…once.


You never know what mother nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

CondorExpressPhotos.com

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