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A "Jimmy Buffett" kind of scene today with loads of marine mammal sightings

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Image: a humpback kicks up its flukes for a deep dive in clear blue water.

2023 09-09 SB Channel

Another great day with a nice variety of marine mammals. There was a little wind, especially northwest of The Buoy. Otherwise, Captain Dave said it was mostly sunny with high tropical-type clouds and a balmy feel. Sightings included: 250 California sea lions, 5000 long-beaked common dolphins, 2 Minke whales and 3 humpback whales.

Just a couple of miles southwest of the harbor we had wonderful looks at two Minke whales. One was much larger than the other and the two were inseparable…what this a mother and calf? The pair had long surface times and made a few random close passes.

A mile or two further brought us near the kelp farm where we were located by a mod of 400 or so common dolphins, the first of several thousand we’d see today mostly out near The Buoy.

We ended up having a lot of great looks northwest of The Buoy, perhaps 13 miles south of Naples Reef back on the mainland. The area was completely over run with common dolphins and their cohorts…seabirds and sea lions. We watched our first humpback, a small whale with white pectoral flippers.

In the distance our 2nd Captain Kelly spotted a large breach several miles in the distance. On the scene we found two individual humpbacks. One was a huge beast, presumed to be female, but diagnosed as one of the larger male humpbacks we’ve seen this season (thanks to Mark and his HappyWhale magic). More dolphins, sea lions and birds were here, too.

On the trip home….more common dolphins!

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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