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At least 9 giant blue whales and more

2017 06-15 SB Channel

There were at least 9 giant blue whales in the area.  We closely watched 7 of them.  Also watched were 500 or so long-beaked common dolphins, and 1 humpback whale.

Offshore a few miles there were spots of dolphins and birds feeding on little schools of northern anchovies.  None rose to the level of what I’d call a “hot spot,” but there was plenty of upside-down feeding by dolphins on each.  There have been schools of anchovies both large and small for several weeks now, and the dolphins have been there to enjoy them.

Further offshore we crossed the path of a single, large humpback whale.  It was moving to the east very slowly and at times appeared to be almost logging.  It never fluked-up or went deep.  It just kept on its easterly track.  This whale was spotted by our good friend Michael.

About 20 minutes later another herd of a hundred or so dolphins found the Condor Express and rode along with us.  A few feeding instances were observed but nothing like the activity we’d seen closer to home.

There is a lot of kelp debris floating in the Santa Barbara Channel right now.  Perhaps the strong winds from the weekend (and Monday) tore it loose from the bottom.  Several drifting kelp paddies were inhabited by resting and finning California sea lions.  Some of the paddies had gulls standing on them, taking a ride downstream.

Captain Dave and his crew had been heading south towards Santa Cruz Island and the last known location of yesterday’s giant blue whales.  Overnight the whales had moved a few miles east.  There were at least 9 around us in the area, and we closely watched about 7.  Sometimes the giants would pair up or form a trio, but most were swimming solo.  There was only one very nice instance of a blue whale tail fluke…it was a doosie.

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

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