Two very friendly humpback whales are seen in crystal clear blue water close to the Condor Express. One has its pectoral fluke in the air and was slapping it against the water as humpbacks often do.
An outstanding American Cetacean Society Adventure
Our 8-hour expedition covered a lot of water and explored the northeastern Santa Barbara Channel from Santa Barbara to Ventura and south to the commercial shipping lanes. These waters included the hot zones we have been observing all week, but with the increased time we had both more time with the wildlife and more range. The day was quite fulfilling with our 3 All Star humpback whales plus 2 more; Rope, Top Notch and Lucky did not disappoint. It seemed like everywhere we went Top Notch would already be there waiting….such a fast and crafty cetacean. Rope and her large humpback buddy were first spotted by American Cetacean Society observers on the bow railing that pointed out dual breaching whales just over a mile to the south of our position. When we arrived on the scene (using the speed and stability of the Condor Express) the breaching had stopped but the two large beasts had begun slapping their pectoral fins simultaneously in both unison and staggered tempos. At this point the morning stratus had lifted and all the action was taking place with bright warm sun and crystal clear blue water. After a whole bunch of time spent slapping, Rope and her pal, temporarily nicknamed “Pal O’ Rope,” came right over to the Condor Express and spy hopped several times and showed their whole entire bodies in the clear water. You could count the hairs and tubercles on their snouts. Pal O’ Rope is only a temporary name since Rope does not form long lasting close associations historically. I’ll post the photos of this “mugging” event on the Condor Express Photos site sometime before Monday evening.
Common #dolphins were all around most of the day, and a conservative estimate of the total population we watched might be 2,500 individuals. Many of the pods were nursery pods and some of the calves were extremely tiny. There was also a lot of “hanky panky” going on which probably means the calving rate will be steady again this time next year. Six Minke whales were sighted, and one of them ran in parallel to the boat and pretty darned close. Good stuff ! We stopped on one Velella velella, but their numbers in the Channel are really dwindling now. California #sealions were also on patrol in packs of juveniles looking for trouble and pestering whales. In summary, it was a marvelous day with great sea and weather conditions.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express