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Airborne humpbacks !

Image: A humpback whale breaches right next to the Condor Express.

2024 05-19 SB Channel 

Everything was light gray today in the Channel, as the overcast was thin but persistent. Lateral visibility was so good we could see the islands from the mainland. There was no sun. Conditions were glassy with a 1 foot gently rolling swell. Sightings for the day included 15 common dolphins, 4 California sea lions, and five humpback whales. 

Captain Eddy and the crew ran southwest and ended up on the southern edge of The Lanes off of Fraser Point, Santa Cruz Island. We were not too far off Ledbetter Beach when we spotted our only dolphin pod with a few sea lions mixed in. They appeared to be doing a bit of feeding subsurface.

On the southern edge of the Lanes we watched a single juvenile whale. During this encounter the juvenile whale took off and got airborne with a monstrous breach right next to the boat. (See today’s image for an example.) After everybody caught their breath, we moved a short distance and found two adult whales. They had six minute dive times and were moving around quite a bit. 

We headed a short distance back into The Lanes where we watched a mother humpback with her calf. The little calf breached twice in a row! (Recent humpback research concluded that juvenile humpback calves breach, slap their pectoral fins, and lob-tail frequently.  This stimulates the development of myoglobin in their muscles, making them good divers as they grow up.)

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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May 26
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks, Bob! I love all of your posts. All of this is happening just outside of our sights from the land. Thanks for bringing the beauty, the excitement, and the marine science, to us. I look forward to the next one!

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