Image: A friendly Minke whale.
2023 09-20 SB Channel
A record-breaking day with 1 Minke whale, 4000 long-beaked common dolphins, 15+ humpback whales and 500 California sea lions. Seas were calm and a light breeze came up late. Skies had a high, thin marine layer. The hot spot was along the edge of The Lanes near The Buoy.
Although we saw a few dolphins about 5 miles southwest of Hendry’s Beach, the rest of the thousands of dolphins were in the aforementioned hot spot…along with practically everything else on the list.
The hot spot. Mega pods of dolphins were all over the zone chasing bait. Plenty of sea birds followed along and, once bait was located, birdnados formed. Among the dolphins were the sea lions and the whales.
We got started on the whales with two individual adults that were moving east. As we followed from a safe distance, one of the whales turned towards the boat and proceeded to mug us for 30 minutes. Close visits to our bow, both sides, and frequent passed under our hulls were common. We all had phenomenal looks.
Meanwhile, we found ourselves surrounded by a sea of spouts…singles, pairs, trios, more singles, lots of moving around chasing dolphins, coming in and out of our visual range. There were a few surface lunge feeds, and some nice tail throws, too. Captain Dave emphasized the point that there were too many whales around us to get an accurate count, and his best guess of 15+ is probably quite low. Whales were up, some were down. Whales came, others returned. It’s a tough job, but someone…
On the way home we spotted an adult Minke whale. On its second surface interval it made a bee-line to the boat and got friendly. It was a Minke mugging.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and