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Another Super Pod of Gray Whales !

2016 02-05 SB Channel

Another super pod of gray whales !

These mild Santa Ana days are very special with their warmth, clear blue skies, and calm seas. And what a mind-blowing sighting we had just north of Chinese Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. It was amazing.   Here are the details.

We ran for quite a while, heading due south, until we sighted our first marine mammals of the trip.   It was a nice sized pod of long-beaked common dolphins with perhaps 250 in the group. We traveled with the pod and enjoyed each others’ company for a while before continuing our quest. We were in search of whales, tall spouts, humpbacks or grays, or who knows what else.

As we approached Santa Cruz Island it became obvious that many of the “tall spouts” we thought we saw from mid-Channel were, in fact, blow holes and large swells crashing against the rocky cliffs of this volcanic side of the island. Almost simultaneously our friend Sophie spotted a spout off our starboard side and not too far away (looking west).

When we got close enough to appreciate the sighting, it was a super pod of gray whales traveling in close proximity and diving/surfacing synchronously.   We all took our best shot at estimating this roiling mass of cetacean flesh, and the best number we came up with for the pod size was “between 10 and 15.” Imagine so many large beasts packed together and you will see multiple spouts, tail flukes, and flanks all at the same time. There was a little, not much, rolling and snuggling and any other sort of mating behavior visible from the surface.

The super pod swam parallel to the island for a while then trended to the northwest…out into deeper water. At one point the super pod abruptly changed course and swam right at the Condor Express. We could see the blue bodies of 2 or 3 of them glowing clearly under the water. Within seconds the entire pod came to the surface just off the bow of our stationary, dead in the water boat. We all had the chills.

On the way home Captain Dave slowed down again for a dolphin pod of about 75, making our total for the trip approximately 325.

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

PS   The 25% off coupon deal has been extended through February 13. Print and show the coupon, available free on our FaceBook page, to be eligible for this special deal while it lasts.

PSS On February 15 we change over our schedule to coastal northbound gray whales (with other species frequently encountered) and offer three 2.5-hour trips per day. For more information go to our website

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