Humpback hot spots
We found dolphin, seabird and humpback whale activity three times during today’s adventures. First, about 4 miles out from Santa Barbara Harbor, we located a hot spot full of anchovy masses. There were so many anchovy spots that the dolphins and birds were passing up many of these to get to larger and large focal areas a few hundred yards here and there. On the first hot spot feeding frenzy we closely watched 5 humpbacks. Included in the 5 were a mother-calf pair that we have spoken about for the past couple of weeks. Mom has a deeply pronounced prop scar with bulbous tumors or masses, and the calf has no dorsal fin, is fairly short and stocky, plus it is very light gray. After over an hours with these wonderful animals, Captain Dave steered a course for the Santa Cruz Channel between Santa Rosa Island and Santa Cruz Island, in hopes of locating some blue whales. As fate would have it, there were no blue whales along the subsurface ledge or island shelf break. But we did take advantage of our location to make a nice visit to the world famous Painted Cave.
Upon exiting the Cave we ran northeast to an area where #humpbackwhales have been feeding this week. And nobody was disappointed to find another massive area of common dolphins with diving seabirds and, naturally, 2 more humpback whales. Here we witnessed groups of dolphins riding the “bow” of the humpback whales as if they were boats. The big dolphin herd was highly animated, tail slaps, breaches and a lot of squealing vocalizations were going on throughout the sighting. We were running a bit late after staying with this second hot spot, but slowed down again when we came across another humpback whale about 1/4 mile west of the harbor entrance buoy. The abundant northern anchovies is attracting a large number of the big whales right now. It is spectacular.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express