Gray Whales Mating

2016 02-25 SB Channel

Only the morning trip ran today and that was surely enough. Speaking for myself, there was so much action on this single 2½-hour excursion that it may take all day to sort through my photographs…a good “problem to have.”   Captain Dave alongside his second Captain “Ojos y oídos” Eric, put us on a course to the west Santa Barbara Channel with a mirror glass surface and bright warm sun. Here are the details for your reading and viewing pleasure:

920 am A nice herd of long-beaked common dolphins that stretched out for about a half-mile was located about a mile south of the Harbor. These were highly animated and friendly commons, and we all enjoyed seeing their antics on this majestic morning. I estimated at least 200 little beasts in the pod. We continued our slow and methodical trek to the west.

Twenty-five minutes after our first dolphin encounter Eric found some gray whale activity not too far away, and it was not spouts that got his attention this time, it was multiple backs, fins, flanks and heads. This would turn out to be a group of three adult gray whales, probably 2 males and one female, that were engaged in socializing and mating behaviors. We were voyeurs for about 45 minutes, and it was both educational and beautiful.

Aside from the rolling around , head-lifts, head stands and other “above the water” actions, I was struck by the gentle side of their interactions. For example there were many instances of a pectoral fin from one gray whale (male?) gently stroking another (female?) gray whale. On numerous occasions the head-lifts resulted one whale resting its head on the back and flanks of another.   There was a lot of body-to-body rubbing. I want to call it “romantic,” knowing that I have already stepped over that anthropomorphic line. For readers that want to know all, yes, Floyd was seen. Another 150 dolphins came through the zone while we watched the gray whales.

On our way back to Santa Barbara Harbor we were approached by 3 Pacific white-sided dolphins that would not leave us alone as they rode the bow and stern waves and came alongside to take a look at their fans.

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

PS   I’ll try to get the photos processed and posted up this weekend.

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