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Gorgeous day, nice humpback, Minke, lots of dolphins and some huge bait balls.

2021 06-23 SB Channel

A light breeze got stronger around noon, but there was no swell and the ride was kept smooth under the skillful captainship of Dave. It was clear, bright and sunny all day with all 4 islands in clear view. Sightings included: 2500 long-beaked common dolphins, 1 Minke whale, 1 humpback whale and 20 California sea lions.

Several hot spots, the first only 25 minutes out from the dock, featured loads of sea birds especially brown pelicans. Common dolphins and sea lions kept multitudes of anchovies packed into a tight ball near the surface and the feeding frenzy was great to see. These bait balls attracted dolphin pods of about 50 or so animals each.

As we followed the hot spots, a single medium-sized Minke whale was seen during 3 surface intervals as it, too, fed on the anchovies. Dave moved the boat further west and not too far offshore.

Next, a mega pod of at least 2000 dolphins, spread out of several miles of ocean, was encountered. Some individuals chased bait. Others chased each other for amorous purposes.

About this time, our staff videographer, photographer, drone pilot, naturalist and all-around nice guy, Adam, spotted a whale in the distance. We got located near this animal and followed it at a respectful distance for over 30 minutes. It was in “travel mode,” and only dove once, for 3 minutes. Consequently, we had a wonderful viewing session with this large adult humpback. Dave moved the boat further offshore.

Not long after the humpback experience Dave spotted a large white object floating on the ocean surface. Unfortunately, it was the very decomposed carcass of a small humpback whale. It soon became obvious this dead whale was not alone and we had several fast glimpses of an 8 or 9 foot great white shark. The water here was choppy from the wind and full of plankton, but, nonetheless, it was a sight to see! If nothing else, one has to respect the ecosystem and cycle of life.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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