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Folks with cell phones were taking whelfies

2017 07-21 SB Channel

Dave and the crew of the Condor Express ran southwest and had some amazing sightings which, in total, amounted to 6 humpback whales* and 1, 000 long-beaked common dolphins.  The water was Santa Barbara cobalt clear.  Skies started with a marine layer and then got sunny.  The sea surface had some residual bump on it for a short while then became calm and nice.

The first wildlife zone was 5 miles south of the old lighthouse where several groups of 100 dolphins took their turn coming to the boat and messing around in our wake waves.  They appeared to be feeding subsurface and eventually attracted the attention of a single humpback whale.  Whale fans on the boat had outstanding looks.

The next stop included a circle around NOAA oceanographic buoy 46053, which they call the “East Channel Buoy,” but if you look at a map it is, in reality, the mid-Channel. Go figure.  All local mariners and scientists use the regular and frequent updates from this buoy to “see” the ocean surface and wind conditions for planning and safe boat operation.  The buoy area had a few hundred additional dolphins.

The Condor Express continued on a westerly heading until we were between Platform Holly and Platform Hondo, and about 8 miles offshore from there.  This was the big hot spot for the trip.  Many hundreds of additional dolphins were feeding in this zone, albeit spread out over several miles of water.  We closely watched 5 additional humpback whales.  The whales were also spread out and, in fact, *there were many more spouts in the area.  One large adult threw its tail multiple times, and slapped its long pectoral fins.  It was at least ½ miles away, but clearly visible.  We came into its area and it circled the boat a few times then logged on the surface within good visual range.  Folks with cell phones were taking whelfies.  As we pulled out to head home, another large whale from the group took off and breached 5 times, again, at a moderate distance.

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

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