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Gray whales feeding at Santa Rosa Isl

2022 05-20 SB Channel

The weather and sea conditions were great for today’s whale watch. Sightings: 4 Pacific gray whales.

Captain Dave and the crew of the Condor Express ran across the entire Santa Barbara Channel and into the Santa Cruz Channel, between Santa Cruz Island and our final destination for today, beautiful Santa Rosa Island. Our rather lengthy voyage, filled with binocular clad crew members searching the whole way, was rewarded with an unusual sighting. There were 4 gray whales in Becher’s Bay! What’s more, they were bottom feeding as evidenced by mud plumes rising to the surface with each whale. The foursome was not a tight “pod” or group. They were relatively spread out within the bay. It was one large adult and three sub-adults that were a bit smaller.

The gray whale population is under tremendous pressure from 3 things: ship strikes, entanglements in fishing gear and, the big one, a rapidly warming and changing environment. Consequently, scientists and whale watching companies have been reporting more feeding outside their historic Arctic waters, and group of gray whales that do not complete the historic Arctic-to-Baja migration. Moreover, gray whales seem to be exploring new feeding locations and strategies to survive. Perhaps today’s encounter is and example.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry Condor Express, and

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