A GRAY WHALE “SNORKELS” … EMITS A BUBBLE STREAM JUST BENEATH THE SURFACE.
2015 04-02 SB Coast
Today we ran two trips into the cetacean paradise we call the Santa Barbara Channel. It was a bright and sunny day with a light breeze and a moderate sea from winds far to the west. At noon, Captain Dave spotted a gray whale simultaneously with deck hand Eric just east of the harbor entrance buoy. Strangely, this whale was heading east. It had long down times, some nearly 13 minutes, but its surface time was close to the Condor Express and we had great looks. Unbeknownst to us at the time we would encounter this same whale again at the end of the noon trip and we’d find it leaving large sediment plumes on the surface. Was it feeding in the 50 foot depths? …scratching the bottom to remove parasites? We’ve seen (and I’ve photographed) a few such sediment plumes near gray whales on the northbound migration this season.
Our next significant sighting was a pair of gray #whales about a mile south of the breakwater. The pair swam side by side and headed directly into the on-coming swells. Soon we located a wide spread group of at least 150 long-beaked common dolphins that were engaged in feeding on balls of anchovies that we could see from the boat. The trip ended, as you already know, by locating the same whale we started with.
The 3pm adventure took us west of the harbor as we followed two young gray whales heading to Alaska. They had regular habits and were great to watch. Soon the gray whales brought us near a hot spot with birds diving, California sea lions jumping, and at least 75 Pacific white-sided #dolphins. Everyone was feeding on the anchovies that were massed in this spot. It was a semi-National Geographic moment.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express
photos from today’s trip: www.CondorExpressPhotos.com