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Humpbacks in the Wind – Kelping

2015 09-28 SB Channel

The afternoon breeze that was predicted by NOAA arrived early and the whole day was filled with a magnificent wind and moderately choppy seas. But with a water temperature of 72.3°F, it was refreshing, not cold. Captain Dave steered a course for the hot spot which was so productive yesterday, a few miles north of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Island. Upon reaching the numbers our sharp-eyed deckhand Tasha found spouts a few miles ahead to the west.   How does she do this with all the whitecaps around?

Sure enough, although the spot was not as “hot” as yesterday in terms of active feeding, bait near the surface, and so forth,  it did yield 5 humpbacks with more in the area, and a huge mega-pod of at least 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins as well.   Shearwaters and California sea lions were also abundant, but not seen feeding on the surface.

Many of the humpbacks approached the Condor Express, and their entire bodies could be seen in the clear water through the swells. We were sitting along an oceanic front and there were numerous drifting giant kelp paddies all over. During our observation period, just about every whale had a session or two of kelping. No stipe or frond was safe around the whales today. Another one of the most magnificent sights on a day when seas are running is watching humpbacks in the wind. They bust head first through the on-coming waves and minutes later ride them down hill as if surfing.

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

PS   Join me in a big congratulations to Tasha who successfully passed her Coast Guard License exam !   Way to go, Tasha !

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