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It’s Gray Whale Season – Let’s Welcome the Humpbacks

It’s Gray Whale Season – Let’s Welcome the Humpbacks

Two trips out of Santa Barbara Harbor today, one at 9am and another at 12 noon.  Sea conditions were great in the morning and only got better in the afternoon.  It was hot and sunny.  If I had to find a “negative,” it would be that the Spring phytoplankton bloom is upon us and the underwater visibility has diminished quite a bit from last week.  ‘Tis Spring!  Although we did get a fleeting glimpse at 2 northbound gray whales on the 12noon trip, about a mile or so offshore, they eluded our attempts to follow them.  Bear in mind that it was a hot, summer-like day and all manner of watercraft were near the Harbor ranging from a huge cruise ship on down past the sailboats and yachts and tiny laser sails to personal jet ski’s.  Perhaps this may explain the shyness of the two grays.   But there were plenty of nice, friendly humpback whales around to keep us happy.  On the way out of the Harbor this morning we followed about 8 inshore bottlenose dolphins on their way westbound along the breakwater in shallow water.  Captain Eric had the Condor Express in 15 feet of water and the dolphins were well inshore of us playing in and around the little surf.  Out in the land of the knobby-headed whales we closely watched 5 on the morning adventure and 6 on the 12 noon expedition.  Both trips had two other things in common:  there were no common dolphins around and there were plenty more humpback spouting and breaching all around us than we could ever hope to watch on either trip.  Sea lions, particularly the young mobsters, were out on the grounds pestering the humpback whales.  The whales were diving down to gobble the anchovy schools, which were hovering at 90 – 100 feet below the surface.  The sea lions were there to join the smorgasbord.  On the 12 noon trip we had two very very close approaches by a pair of humpback whales.  And on a final note, we watched our humpback pal Rope on the morning trip.

We have open whale watch excursions all week and there is supposed to be a heat wave coming. There is no better place to escape the heat of the urban jungle than to get out on the water as see what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry Condor Express

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