Humpbacks and tail-walking dolphins


2022 10-14 SB Channel Today we found mirror glass waters starting not far from the beach. There was a thick, high stratus layer that kept everything gray. In spots, there was a heavy drizzle. Sightings for the day were great: 3 humpback whales, 5000 long-beaked common dolphins, 1000 short-beaked common dolphins and 1 Mako shark. In additions the crew retrieved 6 deflated, floating, Mylar balloons from the ocean surface to help protect marine animals. We passed by some very small groups of dolphins a first, but before long we found a string of long-beaked common dolphins that stretched for miles. There were easily 4000 individuals in this group, and they were fun to watch as they surfed our wake on the glassy ocean surface. It was interesting that the last batch of dolphins that we watched in this group turned out to be a big nursery pod. Practically every dolphin had a little calf mimicking its every move. About 10 minutes later Kelly, our deckhand, spotted the first whale of the day. It had very short surface intervals was a regular fluker. We watched it for a while in the middle of continuous dolphin herds. About a half an hour later, we found a pair of adult humpback whales. The two formed a very close alliance and we’re never more than a couple of dozen yards apart as they swam, spouted on the surface, and did their dives. This was great for photographers because we could get both whales in the same frame, and they did a couple of simultaneous tail flukings! The pair made 2 or 3 very close passes to the boat well remaining close together all the while. It was a wonderful encounter! Just after noon we came in to another mega pod with over 1000 individual long-beaked common dolphins. At 1:45 PM, while searching for more whales, we encountered a mega pod of 1000+ short-beaked common dolphins. These are the more animated of the two common dolphin species that we see regularly in our Channel. We enjoyed lots of leaping, lots of high flying, and quite a few instances of tail-walking. This pod had particularly large numbers of calves and it was fun to see them join in the high flying and tail walking...doing everything the adult dolphins did. Wow. On the way back to the harbor, and no more than a half a mile offshore, Captain Devin spotted a fin in the water in front of the boat. We thought perhaps it was an ocean sunfish (Mola mola). On close inspection, it turned out to be a very large Mako shark. We watched the animal on the surface for over 15 minutes. I am no expert, but I roughly guessed the length at nearly 10 feet. It was exceptionally boat friendly, then after about 15 minutes it sank out and disappeared. Double wow.


You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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