Giant Blue Whale Invasion!
2020 07-18 West Channel
Blue whale extravaganza!
Skies were blue and sunny from the get-go, and there was no swell at all. We ran far to the southwest and ended up off the coast of beautiful Santa Rosa Island and very close to San Miguel Island. Sightings today included: 1 minke whale, 110 long-beaked dolphins, and 9 giant blue whales (closely watched)… Probably 20 or more in the area!
The day started off near Arroyo Burro beach Here, close to shore, we watched one very nice minke whale and a handful of dolphins. We pushed across the channel with our sights on the Santa Rosa and San Miguel Island area. Just before noon things began to get interesting.
The crew, led by second captain Colton, had seen spouts several miles distant in the general direction of San Miguel Island. I happened to look up and sure enough, there was also a blue whale just a few hundred yards ahead of the boat. This first-of-many blue whales was extremely cooperative, with super short dive times and long surface breathing times.
We continued onward towards San Miguel to find out about the spouts that Colton and the crew had spotted earlier. Arriving on the scene, at first we saw a single blue whale as it was diving. We continued a little further and got into an area where there were eight or more giant blue whales up on the surface simultaneously. Some were very close to the boat. There were literally spouts everywhere. There were numerous tail flukes and great looks, all in bright sunlight and clear blue water.
All around us there were additional spouts. Crew estimates range between 20 to 40 additional blue whales in the near vicinity using binoculars. These would be ones we did not have time to explore.
Note that we had been in this area just two days ago with no signs of life at all. So this was an extremely unexpected and wonderful treat. I need to get some ice on my camera trigger finger. Plus…my spine is still tingling.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com