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Four Gray whales with lots of great nearshore playtime. Humpbacks too.

Image: Gray whale calf kelping close to shore


2024 04-15 SB Channel 


It was a bright, sunny afternoon with only a trace of wind. A small residual west bump was rolling down the Channel from high winds overnight. A single 12n trip had the following sightings: 4 Gray whales and 2 Humpback whales. In addition, the crew picked up 2 deflated, floating, Mylar balloons from the ocean surface.


Captain Dave and the crew headed up the coast just outside the surf line as we are in the northbound migration of gray whale mothers with calves, and they frequently travel very close to shore. We located, then spent about an hour, enjoying the joyous antics of 2 mother gray whales with their very young calves-of-the-season. The calves usually do the exploring and the adult females follow. Today’s group moved in to very shallow waters, perhaps only 10 feet deep, then moved out again…a few times. We also saw endless rolling around and spy hopping. There were several instances of kelping, especially where calves put seaweed on their heads (See today’s photography for an example).


Later, the Condor express looped outside a couple miles, and headed back east, in hopes of finding dolphins or humpback whales. We paid a narrated visit to the Kelp Farm and Oil Platform Charlie. On the way back, just 2 miles from the  harbor entrance, we watched a pair of adult humpbacks that were slowly moving west.


You never know what Mother Nature has in store.


Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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Apr 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Love it when they come close to shore!!

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