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A nice day with great cetacean encounters near Santa Rosa Island

(Above: An upside down, pec slapping humpback whale)

2022 12-17 SB Channel

It was overcast most of the day with only a few little sunny spots. A light breeze and small chop came from the southeast. Sightings included: 25 long-beaked common dolphins, 70 offshore bottlenose dolphins, and 3 humpback whales (2 closely watched).

Five miles south of the harbor, heading for the west end of Santa Cruz Island, we stopped for a while to get some quality time with a small pod of long-beaked common dolphins. Per usual, they rode our bow and side waves. When we increased speed, they also surfed our stern wake.

About a mile further south, the crew spotted a distant humpback whale breaching. However, despite all our best efforts, we never relocated this individual or watched it closely.

Captain Dave and the crew thus continues to Santa Cruz Island, then turned west and end up just north of Carrington Point, Santa Rosa Island. Our first encounter here was with a highly animated and very aerial group of offshore bottlenose dolphins. There was lots of leaping, chin-slapping, high-flying and fancy swimming maneuvers to see.

About 4 miles further north, and still off Carrington, we encountered two humpback whales. It was a very large female with a not-so-small calf. The mother became very friendly and spent a lot of time swimming up and down the sides and around the stern of the Condor Express. The calf demonstrated its unreserved joie de vivre by swimming around upside down and slapping both of its long pectoral flippers. It was a perfect last sighting of the day before rushing back and coming in a bit late to the dock.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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