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A huge abundance and diversity of cetaceans including breaching humpback whales.

2022 10-05 SB Channel

Although there was a high, gray stratus layer all day, there was no wind and conditions were good for locating and viewing wildlife in the Santa Barbara Channel. Sightings today included: 9 humpback whales, 8000 long-beaked common dolphins, 25 Risso’s dolphins and 2 offshore bottlenose dolphins.

A few hundred common dolphins were watched about 2 miles south of the harbor. A mile further led us to the first of many mega pods with a single, large humpback whale in the mix. While seemingly in travel mode, this beast surprised everyone twice with full-body, massive breaches. The first was right-side up “belly flop”, the second was a back flop.

Approaching the middle of the Channel we located the largest hot spot of the day. Here we watched several mega pods of commons along with 5 more whales. Among the whales we found a mother and her calf plus a possible escort. Two more adults were in close proximity and followed the first 3 whales everywhere…perhaps competing for the escort position. In the process, one did a nice, forward-swimming chin-lift, and at one point all 5 whales surfaced right next to the Condor Express.

Further south we watched a single whale among hundreds of common dolphins. Then, after Captain Devin moved west a bit, another massive hot spot produced great looks at more common dolphins, 2 leaping offshore bottlenose dolphins, and a nice pod of the much larger Risso’s dolphins.

On the way back to the harbor more dolphin pods were seen, and, about 2 miles from home we found an active single humpback that breached twice.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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