Bad day to be an anchovy
2016 06-19 SB Channel
As far as the eye could see in all directions there were humpback whale spouts, tail flukes and more. Tight packs of long-beaked common dolphins were also seen here and there across the scene. Sea conditions were good with a slight breeze near shore and a moderate breeze offshore. There was some chop generated by strong winds to the west.
It is probably a low estimate to say that we closely watched 18 humpback whales today. These huge beasts would bunch up and feed for a while then disperse, only to come back together and feed again. You might say the situation was fluid if you like puns. Seriously, how does one count accurately when there are so many whales all over the place? and when they come together are these fresh, uncounted whales or some of the previous individuals mixed in? The population size reported here was recorded as it happened with care, then discussed with our friend Bruce the naturalist, and finally approved by Captain Dave. Dave hates inflation.
As for the dolphin population, we will report 3,000 individuals watched with the same disclaimers posted in the previous paragraph. California sea lions were all over the zone too, as were thousands of sooty shearwaters, dozens of brown pelicans, and a few other species of water fowl as well. As I may have said on other occasions, it was not a good day to be an anchovy.
Among the whale behaviors noted today were 3 whales that breached, one after the other, although they only breached once a piece and were spread out over two square miles of ocean. One small humpback with white pectoral fins made a very close approach and its whole body was visible in the rich green water. There were several sideways and upside-down surface lunges on the hotter hot spots, and two episodes of straight up and down vertical lunge feeding, as shown in the photograph.
It was a wonderful Father’s day excursion.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express