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A Far West Whale Watching Adventure – Wow!

A full grown adult humpback whale flukes-up so close to the Condor Express the people on the lower deck felt the mist.

Both Captain Mat and Captain Dave have good friends that are captains of other boats out on the Channel working hard for a living every day. Sometimes we get “good intel” from one of our pals, and today was one of those days. Captain Mat ran the Condor Express to the Far West end of the Channel, along the coast but past Gaviota and Drakes. But the inshore spot with all the reported activity turned up empty…the report was about 2 hour old and they had moved. Bear in mind that this location would have been golden for whale watching today. NOAA had posted small craft advisories for the outside, and we could see the whitecaps out there. The inside track we took was 1.5 miles off the beach and we could feel the hot winds blowing out of each canyon we passed. The Amtrak tracks were in plain view, but nary a cetacean could be found.

But readers of these reports already know about the legend of Captain Mat and how he is the beast of whale finding. His instincts led us on a southward track, pushing the Condor Express offshore to where the whales were seen yesterday…another 17 miles from our current inshore location. Of course, as we pushed offshore we left the warm coastal breeze and flat calm seas behind. The wind built up quickly and took on a much cooler feel. The seas were heaving up, but we were running in the trough so the ride was good. Before long, KA-BAMM! a massive explosion of white water was seen a mile or so ahead of us…sure signs of a breaching adult, full grown humpback whale. We held steady on our course.

As we approached the region where the breach happened, the wildlife began to pick up dramatically. Thousands of sooty shearwaters, loads of brown pelicans, big flocks of Heermann’s gulls and a large population of beautiful elegant terns were found following and diving all around a huge pod of common dolphins…perhaps 2,000 or more. Out of no where four adult humpback whales surfaced right in front of the Condor Express. First one spout, then two, then four…and which whale was practically touching the boat? You guessed it, our old pal “Rope!” These four official greeters soon led us to another four or five active animals to the south where they all teamed up.

The sight of eight or more knobby headed monsters crashing through the on coming swells with the wild winds swirling and sending their spouts everywhere, was absolutely amazing. Everything was sunny, bright, fresh and crystal clear. And the Rope’s original quartet of humpback whale repeatedly surfaced near the boat. Everyone on board was completely mesmerized and fully stoked.

What a day!

I’ll post up the photos sometime tomorrow to

Every day is a different adventure. Hope to see you out there soon! Bob Perry Condor Express

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