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Huge Amounts of Cetacean Biomass

2015 08-11 SB Channel

We were all stunned by the enormous beauty of the day. Once again there was little to no swell on the surface until late in the excursion. The bright and moderately warm sun popped out around 11 am.   Hardly a breath of wind could be detected until late in the trip. The panoramic views and clear air took us all to a higher level of consciousness. Now we get back to reality and summarize the sightings today:   Minke whale = 1;   Humpback whales = 13 (more in the distance); Long-beaked common dolphins = 2,500; Short-beaked common dolphins = 1,500.   Here is the breakdown:

Around 1035 am cries went up around the boat, “Minke, Minke !’   And sure enough there was a large one right off the bow and it gave us three nice breaths close to the boat before disappearing into the depths never to be seen again by us.

It was at 1104 am that things started to heat up. First there were 4 friendly long-beaked common dolphins, and soon that became 1,500.   Various hot spots developed then disintegrated as the seabirds, #dolphins and 4 large humpback whales followed the action. One #whale did some surface “chomps,” a feeding behavior we started seeing earlier this year. There were several very close and friendly approaches to the Condor Express as well.

Near 1208 pm 3 more humpback whales were located along the course we had laid for the west end of Santa Cruz Island. A great narration regarding the island and its history was rendered by Captain Dave, who also put us into the mouth of the world-famous Painted Cave. After the Cave visit we turned north and slowly started back towards Santa Barbara.

North of the Lanes, around 110 pm, we found 2 more humpbacks and another 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins. A few minutes and a mile or so later we came across a super mega-pod of at least 1,500 short-beaked common dolphins which are not as common in our end of the Santa Barbara Channel, but always a treat. Not long after these short-beaked moved out to the west, another 4 humpbacks popped up around us. One ran alongside the boat and was wearing a suction cup telemetry tag that was put on yesterday by researcher John Calambokidis (Cascadia Research Collective) and his team of scientists that are currently studying whales in the Channel.

What a fantastic day!

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

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