Image: Humpback among Long-beaked common dolphins.
2023 05-24 SB Channel
Captain Dave and the crew reported a high, gray marine layer that broke to partly clear and sunny skies. Seas were calm and a very light breeze wafted across the middle of the Channel later in the trip. Sightings were very good: 10+ Humpback whales and 3000+ Long-beaked common dolphins.
After a short exploratory trip to the west through an often-productive area off UCSB, we ended up west of the NOAA East Channel Buoy. We invested a good amount of time here as there was a dolphin megapod-based hot spot that stretched east for more than a mile. In addition to several thousand dolphins that came together, then separated a few times, the area was ripe with active sea birds and more than 6 humpback whales.
As we surveyed this first hot spot a single adult whale breached off our port side. It was a nice ¾-body effort. Seconds later another whale breached a bit behind the first one. A possible coordinated cascade breaching event produced yet another, third whale breach, again just a bit past number 2. Boom, boom and boom.
Dave moved the boat east, towards the Buoy, and located 4 more whales. The first in this new area was a humpback cow-calf pair…always fun to watch. A third whale, a large adult, was seen throwing its tail in the distance and we moved to its location carefully. Another humpback, echoing the tail-throwing adult, went into a long sequence of throwing its tail that included both dorsal side up, AND upside-down (ventral side up) throwing. If you’ve been doing your yoga, you can try that for yourself someday!
You never know what mother nature has in store.
Condor Express, and