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Humpback Whales Invade the Channel En Masse


Two of at least 13 humpback whales in the area today are seen diving together side by side.


Humpback Whales Invade the Channel En Masse

Let me set the stage for you.  It was mill pod glass flat most of the day with bright sun and clear blue water.  Later in the trip a few ripples showed up.  Veteran Captain Dave first took us to that month-after-month productive region east of Henry where we located and watched 6 humpback whales closely.  There were spots of anchovies here and there near the surface, so in addition to some short and shallow dives, we had a couple of instances of surface lunge feeding.  This area was also full of California sea lions and long beaked common dolphins.  Among the 6 #whales we found a cow with a small calf and also our pal “Lucky” that was disentangled back in June.  Lucky is looking better every time we see it, and today was much healthier looking than a month or so when it last was watched.   At least 2 Minke whales also patrolled this hot zone.   Additional humpback behaviors included one beast that stayed in a large kelp paddy for quite a while rolling around and lifting its various fins in the seaweed one at a time.  Tail flukes were seen on just about every dive.

The middle phase of the adventure took us over for a short and sweet cruise along the northeastern face of beautiful Santa Cruz Island.  Here we saw the Island in all its radiant glory…glassy seas, hot sun, hikers on the cliff tops, kayakers in the sea caves and kelp.  What a fabulous day to be anywhere in the Santa Barbara Channel.  Finally it was time to head home and around mid-Channel we had another group of at least 7 humpbacks that we closely watched, making the total for the trip 13 with several more spouts in the near distance.  More sea lions and dolphins were on the scene of course, and Captain Dave estimated at least 1,500 long beaked common dolphin as a reasonable trip total.

Just when we thought the fabulous sightings were over and we were making the first turn inside Santa Barbara Harbor we encountered a half dozen inshore bottlenose dolphins that were coming out of the harbor as we were going in.

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

I took so many photographs today it may be a day or two until I get the processing completed.

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