An Exhilarating Day
2015 06-22 SB Channel
Exhilarating ! Although it was a bright sunny day with a moderate “bump” on the surface, the real fun came around 11am when the westerly winds began to crank up and make white caps everywhere. Exhilarating? you may ask. My answer is yes, definitely, because it has been my good fortune to see many such breezy days when the humpback whales seem to be more active than calm days. And today was no exception. Here is the scorecard: 4 humpback whales (a few more spouts in the distance), and 1000 long-beaked common dolphins. Details follow.
About 30 minutes after leaving our berth at SEA Landing in Santa Barbara we found a single humpback whale in medium chop and bright sun. It was highly motile and used its long down times to shift locations between #dolphin epicenters within a large, dispersed pod. After an hour of looks at this beast, we headed further offshore.
Around noon we found 2 separate additional #whales, located because the first one (which turned out to be our pal “Top Notch”) breached a few times and threw its tail a bunch. This was part of that “exhilaration due to high winds” theory I’m trying to float. Later a second whale breached once then headed directly into the oncoming swells and seas. We tried to track it with minimal success putting passenger comfort ahead of total achievement. We did see this second beast busting through those oncoming seas, which for me at least was….exhilarating.
Around 125pm we had moved half-way between Hillhouse and Habitat where another larger whale with a notched dorsal was moving downhill to the east. It was a regular whale with easy going 3 minute down times. At one point it “chomped the sea surface” with its head slightly elevated above the water. Simultaneously the otherwise bored elegant terns made a few crash dives very close to this whale. Perhaps it was “chomping” a small school of anchovies instead of wasting a lot of energy on a major lunge.
You never know what kind of exhilaration Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express
PS I’ll get my photographs processed and put online tomorrow. www.CondorExpressPhotos.com