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Humpback feeding frenzy

2016 20-15 SB Channel

Today we ran two trips 2½-hours each with drop dead gorgeous weather. Air temperatures in the Santa Barbara Channel were near 80F (27C), the water was clearing up a bit, and the surface was butter. Both runs took us out to an area just south of the rig line, but not quite in the Triangle or the Flats. Spectacular sightings were had on both excursions with some slight differences as described below.

9am Six humpback whales were found feeding on anchovy bait ball hot spots alongside at least 300 long-beaked common dolphins, lots of California sea lions and a mass of seabirds. Some short friendly encounters took place by chance as the feeding animals came to the surface to either take a breath or take a mouthful of anchovies. Great views were to be had looking straight down into the water from the decks of the Condor Express. Many more humpback spouts were in the area.

12n As we left Santa Barbara Harbor we were immediately greeted by a pod of about 15 inshore bottlenose dolphins. They rode the bow, came alongside to see their fans and mixed in with the others was a calf.   Very special. Moving out past the rigs where we left off on the morning run, we again found actively feeding marine mammals with at least 8 humpbacks (14 total sighted for the day), 150 common dolphins (450 total), and the rest of the supporting cast that tries its best to liquidate anchovies from the face of the planet. This trip also featured several instances of humpback whale surface lunge feeding with mouths wide open and their baleen visible for all to see. Anchovies were flying everywhere…another NatGeo moment.

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

PS We’re running a noon trip tomorrow and I’ll see you on board !

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