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A humpback whale that would not stop breaching

2017 04-21 SB Coast

A single noon excursion started off with dense patch fog, then turned out to be very nice.  The low stratus did not deter the wildlife.  Three humpback whales and two gray whales were observed, but that is not the whole story.  The highlight was a humpback whale that would not stop breaching.

Captain Dave left Santa Barbara harbor astern and headed up the coast to UCSB.  Here everyone got great looks and a mother gray whale and her calf.  Looking at census data from the past decade, the peak of the gray whale cow-calf migration north is happening now and lasts only a few more weeks.

But the crew of the Condor Express is ever-watchful, and after a wonderful time spent with the grays, they soon spotted some commotion further offshore, about 3 miles south of Sands Beach.  Here a humpback whale, probably a “teenager,” was following a fantastic behavioral pattern that we get to see only once in a while.  The beast rolled around on the surface, then spent a moment slapping its enormous pectoral fins, next it sounded only to finish off the sequence with a monstrous breach….then the cycle repeats.  Dave lost count at over 30 separate breaches, and actually left to go home on the late side while the amazingly energetic humpback was still breaching its heart out in our wake.  Two additional humpback whales were in the area but we did not have time to pull up and spend a lot of time with them because of the whale that would not stop breaching.

Crew member Steve took a nice breaching photo with his phone and it is posted here.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express

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