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A glassy day with some phenomenal whale and dolphin behaviors!

2021 09-09 SB Channel

The Condor Express, its crew and whale enthusiasts enjoyed glassy calm seas today with a high, gray stratus layer to keep the air temperature enjoyable. Sightings included: 3 humpback whales, 30 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 2 Minke whales, and 3000 long-beaked common dolphins. But wait, there’s more!

A phenomenal hot spot was located just 6 miles southeast of the harbor and beyond the Carpinteria oil rigs. As we motored along at normal running speed, the first 6 of what would turn out to be many dozens of bottlenose dolphins came directly at the boat and immediately got in position for some serious bow riding. As we moved along and they surfed, we encountered more and more of these agile surfers. By this time many of them had took up surfing our wake waves too.

Next, a totally unexpected, and somewhat rare, interaction with a Minke whale occurred. The whale was spotted at a moderate distance in front of our bow, and was making a high speed run directly at the Condor Express (where the offshore bottlenose dolphins were already busy surfing). At the last moment, the Minke rolled over and made a brisk U-turn with its body, and effortlessly took up surfing alongside the offshores! Oh my goodness! A few miles later we spotted a second Minke whale that was a bit shy (as many of our southern California individuals are) and after few looks it quickly disappeared beneath the mirror surface.

Further offshore, in the separation zone between the northbound and southbound shipping lanes, several large herds of common dolphins were watched, and three individual humpback whales were in the midst. Two of the individuals were large adults that eventually paired-up. The third humpback was a juvenile that soon moved east away from the zone…but not before issuing a full breach for its fan club on the boat.

While humpback watching, several large commercial cargo vessels passed by us in The Lanes. One was heavy with cargo and long after it passed us and was several miles away, its long, rolling stern waves were still holding form. This phenomenon did not escape the attention of the common dolphins. Several large pods joined forces and group-surfed this open ocean ship’s wake and celebrated their good fortune with quite a bit of leaping.

Bob Perry Condor Express, and


After having such wonderful sights further offshore (we were several miles south of San Miguel Island at one point) on our special 8-hour whale watch last month, Captain Dave is going to do it again! We’ll have plenty to time to explore every nook and cranny known to cetaceans and look for pelagic birds along the way.

Make your reservations now: Saturday, September 25 – 8am to 4pm

phone: 888-77WHALE or 805-882-0088

My report from the August trip is here:

All day trip with killer whales etc etc

I look forward to seeing you on board!


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