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Hot whale watching

The humpback whale calf we call “white pects” came up close to the Condor Express today for a full body, wide angle view in clear blue water. Wow !

Hot whale watching

Before the trip I walked along West Beach to check for any purple sailor gelatinous animals, Velella velella, and there were some – washed up as I’d hoped.  Just their transparent sails and disk-like float chambers were still intact.  And we still had quite a few live specimens on the water yesterday and today as well.  Speaking of “sailors,” there was a nice balmy breeze from the west as we headed out to the wildlife hotspot east of Hogan.  Later in the trip the breeze and moderate bump from the west Santa Barbara Channel picked up a bit.  It was sunny, er, I mean HOT all day and the breeze gave some relief and made us all glad to be on the water and not roasting with the land lubbers.  On the way to the hotspot we spent some time with a few pods of long beaked common dolphins…mostly small pods, but there were one or two with a few hundred #dolphins.  One benefit of the moderate bump was the ample opportunity to view these little surfers riding the open ocean swells all around the Condor Express.  Several pods were engaged in social playtime and this often took place only a few feet away.  Captain Dave estimated at least 1,000 total long beaked common dolphins today.  A few small gangs of California sea lions were still running amok, but tended to not pester the big whales today.

The first of our 4 humpback whales was, you guessed it, Top Notch. And then there was a large female, and finally the “white pects” calf and its big, full grown mother.  The cow and calf stuck to a 5 min breathing cycle and on TWO occasions swam up close to the Condor Express.  On one of these close swims white-pects came alongside for a full body view in the clear blue water.  It doesn’t get any better than this unless you own your own helicopter, and even then you would not be this close.  It was a magnificent day and great to cool off while enjoying the wildlife.  I’ll post up the photos sometime tomorrow.

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

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