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Homeguard humpbacks on a sunny, summer day!


2015 06-19 SB Channel

As you can see by our ship’s track from the AIS device and Marine Navigation website, we stayed on our own side of the Santa Barbara Channel today. First of all it was sunny and glassy, and second there were so many marine mammals in our neck of the woods we just could not bear to leave them. Up front, here are the species totals:   Humpback whales = 16 (+ many more all around) Long-beaked common dolphins = 3,000

Along the 50-fathom curve we located most of the initial sightings. Our first encounter was a pod of 500 or more #dolphins that were spread out and zig-zagging all over as they chased anchovies upside down. Fifteen minutes and a few miles (to the south) later, we got into a spread out region of small hot spots that would boil, then cool, then move a quarter mile and heat up again. Along these hot patches we watched 5 humpbacks and 1000 dolphins. The only fog in the Channel was bearing down on us from the west so we ran east.

A few miles from our initial #whale sightings we were 2 miles southwest of Platform Charlie and encountered 3, then 2 more, then another humpback whale.   At least 500 more dolphins were along to share the banquet.   The area was in bright sun and it stayed that way for the rest of the excursion.

Moving further to the southwest towards one of a bunch of lone whales that teased us with dynamic yet solo and random breaching, we visited with 5 more non-breaching, feeding and traveling, humpback whales with 500 additional dolphins. Many of these dolphins were mothers with calves of various sizes all being rambunctious.

As we headed north back to the Harbor, there were numerous whales in front of us that we did not have time to stop and enjoy as we were already a tad late.   One of them breached and that changed our plans…we ran over to its area and we were glad we did. This was a Monstro, full of snorting, trumpet calls, many more breaches, followed up by a cluster of very violent tail throws.   This bad boy meant business, and it was spectacular to see at the end of our trip.

Several of the previously mentioned random and solo breaches seemed to follow The Captain Dave “call and response theory.”   This states that a breaching whale in the distance often signals other whales to breach in response.   Given that sound travels so nicely in the dense, fluid ocean environment, this theory needs more work…frankly, I think he’s on to something!

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

PS   I’ll get today’s photographs processed and posted sometime this weekend.

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