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Huge populations of humpbacks and sea lions

Image: a mob of California sea lions.


2024 04-06 SB Channel 


Although the NOAA weather forecast was for high winds and big swell, winds were relatively light all day. We had a clear sunny sky but there was a bit of a bump on the water from the overnight winds that blew across the Channel. He was a little bit rougher on the 9 AM trip, but The bump subsided a little bit on the 12 noon trip. Sightings for each trip we’re practically identical: 25+ humpback whales and 400 California sea lions. Since we saw the same animals on both trips I’m not going to total them like I usually do.


The hotspot was south of the Kelp Farm and there were humpback whales as far as the eyecould see. We moved around to as many of the groups as we could in the time that we had, but there were many more spouts all around us that we did not have time for. We also could not move to the distant whales because we were surrounded and had to run an idle engine most of the time for safety reasons.


As Captain Dave told it to me, there were groups of humpback whales as large as eight that would forage together for a while, then split up into smaller groups, then come back together. There were also plenty of trios, pairs, and single whales all around. They were constantly diving, and moving along with their sea lion escorts. With so many marine mammals in the same spot one could only assume that they were massive amounts of anchovies or sardines down below the surface.


Per usual, the sea lions and humpback would dive at the same time, but the sea lions came up to the surface first to catch their breath. if one looked at the sea lions, you could easily forecast where the whales would be coming up next. They were a team.


One more note pertains to the morning trip: among the dozens of whales, there was a mother and calf with a possible escort in the mix. This is not unusual except that the calf was extremely small… A relatively new birth?. Always remarkable to see!


You never know what Mother Nature has in store.


Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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Apr 07
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great stuff, Bob Perry. Perfect spirit animal! Thanks for capturing the beauty with your camera and fr sharing your wisdom and adventuress. Love it!

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