The juvenile humpback whale with white-on-both-sides pectoral flukes breached so close to the boat that I could not get the whole whale in my lens. I’ll post a higher resolution version on my website tomorrow. Wow!
A Grand Day and even Grander Show!
There were patches of fog in Santa Barbara Channel be we avoided all of it until we were practically home and safely back inside Santa Barbara Harbor. The sea surface was glassy calm. It was a warm and sunny day – perfect for locating those elusive cetacean spouts. Captain Dave and Deckhand Augie have 4 really sharp eyes between them and they both were “on their game” today. Out of the five humpback whales we watched closely today, one was Top Notch (the young humpback with a notch in its dorsal fin), and two more were “White Pects” (a juvenile with pectoral fins white on both sides) and its mother. Some of the whales had over 12 minute bottom times, and others were around 5 minutes. The stage was set with crystal clear blue water, and before long the ever-acrobatic and energetic “White Pects” took off and breached about a dozen times in a row (I’ll count the exact number later when I process the images). One breach was so close to the Condor Express that it rendered my 300mm lens useless (too close) and sent spray on to the lower deck. Luckily the lower deck was populated by some very dedicated ocean loving people and a team of hard core dolphin and whale enthusiasts. For them, this was the spray of a lifetime! Baptism by humpback, sort of. Later it slapped its white pects on the water. On the subject of #dolphins, we watched at least 1,500 individuals in both large and small pods. Again, the water clarity enhanced the sightings and all of the various antics of these smaller cetaceans were visible to all. This was definitely one of the best days we’ve had so far this season. The parking lot near the launch ramp is full of lobster traps getting ready for the season to open next week. I’ll get the photos up on the web sometime tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow, Wednesday, September 24, there is no public whale watch trip. We’ll be back in action again on Thursday.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express Biologist and Photographer
on the web: www.CondorExpress.com/blog