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Fin whales! Mugged by humpbacks!

Image: a pair of fin whales in the Santa Barbara Channel

Image two: the hotspot today off of the East End of Santa Cruz Island.

2024 05-28 SB Channel 

It was a pleasant day in the Channel today. Skies were overcast, and only a light breeze ripple across the water from time to time. As we have done earlier this week, we ran from the harbor out to the eastern end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island. Sightings for the day included: 4 humpback whales and 2 fin whales.

Our first sighting consisted of four humpback whales in The Lanes, down near the eastern end of the island. We came upon a single we’ve seen it before and is known by as very crooked tail fin. As with the other humpbacks we saw later at this spot, this whale was very friendly, mugged the boat, rolled around in the jets, swam upside down and did a couple of tail throws. What a great show.

About a half a mile away we found three humpback whales, one of which we never got set up on.  The two remaining whales followed the leadership of our first individual and mugged the boat, rolled around and then did quite a bit of kelping.

After running east just a little bit, we noticed two large spouts which turned out to be a pair of fin whales. They were swimming side-by-side. One of them was huge and the other was quite a bit smaller. (See today’s photograph for an example). This pair had very long surface time and hardly any downtime. An average dive was three minutes. Consequently we had wonderful looks!

On the way home there were additional spouts in the distance but we did not have time to pursue.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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