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East of Hogan

California sea lions have an ample curiosity, boundless energy, and are generally fearless animals. This one was pestering a 50-foot female humpback whale. Sheesh!

East of Hogan

No Steinbeck, no timshel, we were just paparazzi for whales and found the mother lode east of offshore oil and gas platform Hogan.  But like the Salinas Valley in the summertime, the Santa Barbara Channel was quite hot both in temperature and in the abundant marine fauna.  Captain Dave took us immediately back that hot spot we found late in the trip yesterday.   Again we passed numerous small disorganized pods of long beaked common dolphins.  Top Notch was our first humpback whale.   Although it had 10 minute down times at first, later in the trip it was more like 4 or 5 minutes down.  TN also surface and swam a direct intercept course for the Condor Express, came along the port side and showed the #whale fan club its entire body under the crystal clear blue water.  It proceeded to spout and then kick up its flukes and dive….all within a few yards of the boat.  But that’s not all!  There were 5 or 6 closely watched humpback whales today, and besides Top Notch, our highly motivated “whitey pects” was there with its full grown, large humpback mom.  Of course both showed tail flukes, both showed pectoral fins and slapped them, and “whitey” did a couple of robust tail throws.  Again numerous California sea lions were all around and pestered the humpbacks.  I’m surprised they don’t get clobbered by one of those massive tails and get their bell rung.  There were spouts all around us 360º  at one point.

There were not as many Minke whales today, perhaps 3 or 4 in the area.   The total for common #dolphins was probably close to 750.  There were eddies with batches of Velella velella today among the dolphin-whale hot spots.  I’ll post up the photos sometime tomorrow.  It was a great day on the hot spot east of Hogan.

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

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