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Breaching Gray Whales, Kelping and More.

The original Condor ran two trips today departing at 9a and 12n. The 9am trip started out with a thick marine layer that soon broke to patches of nice warm sun shining on gray whales breaching. Although we watched 4 gray whales and plenty more all around the area, one juvenile stole the show. Up near More Mesa, along the edge of the kelp beds, our juvenile breached about 8 or 10 time, spy hopped, and for even more fun, it played in the kelp a few times. It also rolled around on its side a couple of time too. What a showboat! Meanwhile, we also saw 2 nice inshore bottlenose dolphins and about 50 long-beaked common dolphins on this same trip. An energetic and intelligent class of local 6th graders certainly picked the right day to whale watch on the Condor.

The noon trip was a full boat and most of the people were adults from various countries all over the world that had come to Santa Barbara to learn English and see our whales. Okay, maybe the whales were not in the original plan, but once again, as on the morning trip, the afternoon sightings were spectacular. We watched 5 gray #whales closely and, again, had many more spouts all around. The first whale we got a look at was also up around More Mesa, but further offshore than the morning hambone whale. Not to be out done, this large adult breached once to get our attention, then proceeded to kick up its flukes on every single dive, deep and shallow. There were a couple of fairly shy whales, but before long we were watching a trio of adults swimming side by side about 3 miles off the beach near Hope Ranch. As if there was something in the water today, one of these adults breached close to the boat with the sun shining nicely on its mottled gray skin. The trip also featured 25 or so long-beaked common dolphins.

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

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