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Far west Channel yields great sightings!

2019 07-24 SB Channel-West

It was sunny all day today and quite warm. I brought my Condor Express sweatshirt with me for nothing… didn’t need it! The sea surface was calm and so were the winds. Sightings were phenomenal and surface behaviors were off the hook. We closely watched 11 humpback whales, 1000 long-beaked common dolphins and one juvenile ocean sunfish. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story, again!

Dolphins were around all day, but then you’ve heard me say that over and over again for the last week or two. There were several large surface bait balls and some of them attracted dolphins. Curiously, the dolphins swam right past others! Is this an example of dolphins managing their food resource?

Suellen spotted a wonderful ocean sunfish (Mola mola) that stayed up and swim back-and-forth along the side of the boat so everybody could get good looks. I called it the “hambone sunfish”. Of the 11 whales we saw today, the first was a cow calf pair. Three additional whales were in the same area. About an hour later we had traveled so far to the west into Gaviota waters that we were just east of platform Hondo when we spotted two additional beasts. A bit later we found two more whales, one of which did what we call a headstand, remaining vertical, straight up and down in the water column, with its tail straight up catching the breeze. After a bit it slowly sank headfirst in the water disappeared. On our way home we found two additional whales one of which was very active. We watch from a distance and slowly closed the gap as this whale went through its whole repertoire, including multiple breaches, a brief instance of pec-slapping, and some very robust lobtailing which included both right side up and upside down lobbing. Spectacular! You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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