The extra wide tail fluke of a giant blue whale.
4 Blue whales 3 Minke whales 2 Humpback whales 2,500 common dolphins
Captain Mat had a dilemma this morning. Should we run west where we had all those humpback whales and dolphins near Platform Hondo yesterday? or should we gamble and try the island shelf break and see if any blue whales have showed up yet? Using his decades of piloting whale watch adventures, Mat took the gamble. We went south towards the islands.
It was overcast but not foggy. The seas started out with light wind waves, then dropped to total glass. It was warm as the cloud layer was thin. So it was not too long before we found our first pod of common dolphins. It was a small pod by comparison with those mega-groups we’ve had this week. And they took us east, so after a while of running with them, we started back on our southerly course. A little while later there was a singing duo: Mat and deckhand Eric sang out simultaneously when the spouts of two humpbacks were first spotted. There was one larger humpback whale and one smaller, but not a young juvenile. Soon we were in a hot spot with lots more common dolphins, the two humpbacks and at least 3 minke whales, perhaps four. Seabirds were abundant here, primarily sooty shearwaters, a few western gulls and some brown pelicans. It was a good show and everyone got great looks.
Pressing onward to the south, hoping to find something with a taller spout and less bumpy rostrum, we hit the jackpot. Captain Mat’s gamble paid off just a few miles north of Santa Cruz Island. First it was one, then two then four behemoth blue whales. These sleek monsters were spectacular as the glide across the surface. Rostrum, blowhole, dorsal surface, more dorsal surface, tiny fin, more and more dorsal surface and, finally, a tail. Whew. It was awesome and everyone was stoked.
A brief historic visit to the north shore and the famous Painted Cave rounded out the adventure.
I’ll post up the photos sometime tomorrow https://www.CondorExpressPhotos.com