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Happy Thanksgiving Eve trip yields 10 humpbacks and lots a football

Image: a pair of humpback whales are seen logging on a glassy ocean surface

2023 11-22 SB Channel

A little breeze occasionally disturbed the mirror glass ocean surface and caused ripples. The sky was blue and the sun was out all day. Sightings were very good: 10 humpback whales, 1 Minke whale, 75 California sea lions and 2500 long-beaked common dolphins. It’s football season, so naturally today’s harmful Mylar balloon debris was, you guessed it, a big football. The Condor Express “scored” by removing this danger from the environment.

A mile south of the kelp farm we watched a trio of humpback whales. It appeared to be a large calf with its mother alongside a third whale. During most of the 30 minutes we spent watching this threesome they were logging. At one point the calf rolled around and rubbed up against mom…perhaps a nursing solicitation. Towards the end of this sighting, the trio kicked up their tail flukes and dove in synchrony. We also had quick looks at a Minke whale that was on patrol in our area.

We continued south and a few minutes later we found 3 more humpbacks, a pair and, ¼ mile away, a third whale. One of the pair did a bit of pectoral fin slapping. These animals had very long dive times.

A bit later we were in The Lanes and found a pair of humpbacks. We had quick looks and away they went to the east. During the quick look, one of the whales passed by the boat and was appreciated by its fan club on board.

Just outside the world-famous Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island we intercepted two groups of dolphins as they swam past a large number of seabirds that were sitting on the glassy surface. Quite a few sea lions were also seen here. After Captain Dave gave a short introduction to Santa Cruz Island and The Cave, he took the boat inside the first chamber…always a unique experience.

On the way home we had looks at a couple of larger pods of dolphins.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store,

Bob Perry Condor Express, and

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Nov 26, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Painted Cave on Santa Cruz is an unbelievably beautiful place with an breath-taking transition from the sunlight into the shadows of the mouth that is only possible during flat sea conditions. The Condor Express is a big boat, but there's enough leeway on the sides and above for the vessel to enter the cave. A pair of Black Pigeon Guillemots with heavy orange bills and webbed feet fly out of the cave when they hear the motor sound closing in. 800 feet inside the cave takes a hard right turn for another 400 feet. This inner chamber has a bench area that provides a quiet resting place for the California Sea Lions whose barks echo throughout. It is a hig…


Nov 23, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.


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