A fine day for cetacean lovers.
A low level “white out” fog bank extended from the lighthouse up past Coal Oil Point as we left the Harbor for the 12 noon trip today. Captain Dave wisely steered a course in the opposite direction and maintained good visibility all day. While it was warm and toasty in town and out about 2 miles, the outer waters made the air cool but nice especially since the sun was out. Our first cetaceans were a mega-pod of 800+ long beaked common dolphins. We followed them along for 15 minutes or so, but they were heading for the fog. Back on track, the Condor Express moved about 8 or 10 miles off the beach and found a “mother lode” of humpback whales. We closely watched 10 humpbacks as they chased each other around sometimes at high speeds. There was some rolling and abrupt turns, and among the 10 beasts we watched a mother and her not-so-young calf. These whales were not diving or feeding, as much as we could tell from our vantage point above the surface, but there was non-stop socializing. There were more spouts in the distance.
At 3 o’clock we ran back to the same numbers hoping to relocate the assemblage of humpback whales. After a brief encounter with 10 common dolphins, we found 2 of the humpbacks this time and they were in “travel mode” running a straight line west. They had a regular breathing pattern and never really did any prolonged or deep diving. They also did not fluke up much. But being as their line was straight, it was easy to stay with the two and the looks were good. After a while we pressed onward to the west hoping to perhaps catch up with the rest of the morning group. This did not happen. As it was getting late in the trip, and as we were already west of the Harbor, Captain Dave decided to search the near shore kelp zone for gray whales. He quickly got us running along and getting wonderful looks at two cow-calf gray whale pairs traveling together. The four gray whale were moving west (of course), but it there were starts and stops as the 2 babies occasionally deviated from the straighter path. What a wonderful sight to see the two moms and two youngsters together on the outer edge of the kelp.
Tomorrow we run 12 noon and 3 pm trips again. I’ll post today’s photos sometime before I go to bed on Tuesday evening.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express