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Amazing array of marine mammals today

2019 09-19 SB Channel

Surprisingly, things started out with patches of dense fog and a moderate bump on the surface, but from the mid-Channel and beyond the sun was shining and the surface calmed down.  These conditions permitted the Condor Express staff to locate and closely watch an amazing array of marine mammals today, including: 8 humpback whales*, 3000 long-beaked common dolphins, 1000 California sea lions,  and a nice array of hungry sea birds.

Our first couple of sightings consisted of spread-out, surface-feeding dolphins in groups of about 200 each.  A lot of upside-down high-speed predation was seen as hapless northern anchovies were targeted.  This was NatGeo stuff for sure.

Just after noon, one of the crew members spotted several tall spouts in The Lanes near Santa Cruz Island.  Soon we were in the midst of a tremendous oceanic hot spot with thousands more dolphins, at least a thousand sea lions, and 8 closely watched whales (with several more seen within a mile or two of our location).  Several close and friendly approaches by whales took place.  Whales were often surrounded by either dolphins or sea lions or both.

It seems to me, and this is personal obs, not scientifically documented, that the whales tolerate the dolphins being in close proximity, but the California sea lions not so much.  Several lazy half tail-throws were seen when sea lions were close to the whales.  Who knows what’s going on beneath the surface between these two species?

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

PS There are no public whale watching trips this weekend.

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