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Far west has ideal condtions and spectacular marine mammal sightings.

Image: a humpback whale is shown surface sideways lunge-feeding.

2023 08-13 SB Channel - West

Captain Devin and the crew of the Condor Express ran to the far west to a similar area that was productive yesterday. He reported sunny skies, calm seas, very light breeze and, again, super clear water. Sightings included: 6+ humpback whales, 3000 long-beaked common dolphins, and 100 California sea lions.

As we made the long journey to a spot about 7 miles south of El Capitán, our first dolphin encounter was adjacent to UCSB, and was a widely scattered group. We continued west to our target area.

Our first indication we were near the hot spot was a great humpback breach up ahead of the Condor. This region supported about 1000 dolphins and a few small mobs of sea lions. Soon we found ourselves with 5 humpback whales. Another whale was within normal visual range as well. One of the 5, a small juvenile/calf, did a bit of rolling around at first. After a while and some great looks, the little whale headed towards a very large whale that just arrived. The juvenile (calf) rubbed up against the big whale (mother), and everything at this location was in spectacularly clear water.

There were numerous bait schools on the surface and quite quickly the pair began a nice episode of surface lunge feeding. Most of this was done by the enormous mother, and included a lot of straight up vertical lunges and a few side-lunges, too. (See today’s photograph of a similar whale sideways lunging). After a while, the calf discovered some drifting kelp and did quite a bit of kelping…all very near the Condor Express.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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