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Humpback whales, lots of common dolphins and several hundred California sea lions

2022 07-11 SB Coast

Captain Devin and his crew did it again! Sightings today included: 3 humpback whales, 3000 long-beaked common dolphins and 500 California sea lions. Skies were overcast all day…a marine layer caused, in part, by hot weather starting just a few miles inland. Seas were calm.

The past several weeks followed a pattern which, once again, continued today. Spread out dolphin pods are located a few miles outside Santa Barbara Harbor, and, as the Condor Express moves from group to group while moving west, the pods get bigger and they attract more sea birds and sea lions. Some of the more active, larger hot spots may also attract humpback whales. Why not? These whales dine on the same prey as their feather and furry associates.

It was about 2 miles south of Platform Holly where we found our first of 3 whales, and the first of 2 adults. This one was easy to follow and had an all-white tail fluke. Like all the whales, it was found near feeding dolphin aggregations. Whale number 2, just a mile or so from the white-tailed individual, had, by contrast, an all-black tail. It was a bit more boat-curious and made a few close passes, including under the boat. We had great looks and as we turned away to locate a 3rd whale, good ol’ number 2 did a mega breach just behind us. Our last whale was actually sighted twice today, given that it was in “travel mode,” on a non-stop southeasterly course heading. We followed its surface fluke prints to keep up at 6 knots.

On our way home, and 5 miles away from our last encounter with dark-pecs, we intersected its route and had another good sighting episode with it.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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