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A storied Minke whale day, Scarlet the humpback, and dolphins, dolphins, dolphins

2020 07-07 SB Channel

Some people have pet dogs that follow them around. Fewer people even have cats that do the same. Today, the Condor Express had two “pet” Minke whales. I’ll tell more below. Totals for the trip included: 3000 long-beaked common dolphins, 3 humpback whales and 2 Minke whales. Winds were up in the western Channel, so Captain Dave and his crew ran the trip today in the much calmer waters of the east.

Common dolphins earned their nickname again with large numbers coming to the boat all day long. Pods ranged in size from less than 100 to larger groups over 500 strong. In the east, and southeast of Platform Habitat, we watched yet another aggregation of common dolphins when, out of the blue, a pair of Minke whales showed up. The two whales seemed to be attracted to the Condor Express and swam alongside, crossed our bow, and one even swam upside-down to show off its ventral blubber grooves.

Dave called it one of the best Minke sightings of the year.

Spouts in the near distance turned out to be 3 large female humpback whales. As we watched the humpbacks dive and surface in unison several times, we were able to identify one of them as our old friend “Scarlet.” (See photo above). We’ve watched Scarlet for many years and she gets bigger annually. But today, her two compatriots were even bigger than she! As we watched the huge whales, you guessed it, the Minke whale pair returned to the boat and continued their friendly behavior.

After long and seriously great sightings, it was time to head back to the harbor. On our route home we again interacted with hundreds of common dolphins. After Dave slowed to watch them, you guessed it, the Minke whales were back again! We have no idea what it was about the boat, the weather, the good vibes among the passengers, or whatever was responsible for all this Minke attention!

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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