2022 08-10 SB Channel
Skies got clear early and it was a warm day out on the Channel. Moderate short interval wind waves kept our westbound speed down a bit. Nonetheless, we closely watched 7+ humpback whales (many more in the area), 1800 long-beaked common dolphins and 50 California sea lions. A few surface sightings of egg yolk jellies were also had.
Scattered dolphin pods started about 6 miles out from the harbor. We spent the entire day in a very productive hot spot zone located 12 miles south of UCSB. Here we watched hundreds of dolphins feeding alongside sea lions and hungry marine birds. This area also yielded all of the humpbacks we watched and the others we saw at a distance, but did not directly watch.
Our first whale was an old friend, a male with an almost pure white tail: Snowflake! Although most sightings (since 2017) have been from southern California, he has also visited Monterey, CA and Oaxaca, Mexico. Soon an additional pair of whales joined Snowflake, and next, two separate individuals, too. All were drawn to each other because of the abundant northern anchovy bait balls. Last to show up and be closely watched was a very large adult female. And this whale MUGGED US for over and hour and even when we slowly left to go home, it followed us like an oversized, knobby-headed puppy.
The friendly female MUGGER repeatedly spy-hopped next to the Condor Express, including some spinning hops (pirouettes?). She also did barrel rolls up and down both sides of the boat, swam around upside down (which is how we determined her gender), and, at times almost touched the handrails with her long pectoral flippers. Amazing!
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com