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Killer whales and more.

2022 09-04-SB Channel

ORCAS

It was mostly sunny, warm and there was no wind. A gentle, long-period swell rolled through un-noticed by most. Sightings today were unexpectedly phenomenal, including: 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola), 2 northern elephant seals, 5 short-beaked common dolphins, 1000 long-beaked common dolphins, and….5 killer whales (Orcinus orca).

Captain Devin and the crew took the Condor Express southwest through areas with very few, scattered long-beaked common dolphins, and ultimately had a wonderful sighting/session with 300 short-beaks.

Devin then moved further out and into an area surrounding the NOAA East Channel Buoy. As we were cruising along, looking for humpbacks, one of our loyal passengers and photographer, Juan, noticed “something different” in the distance. This turned out to be a pod of 5 killer whales, including 1 large adult male. The group has tentatively been identified as belonging to the CA-122 matriline. Their behavior was very unpredictable as they were (A) not traveling in a particular direction and, (B) passed by otherwise fun and tasty prey species without a pause. (The prey species included two groups of long-beaked common dolphins, and 2 separate northern elephant seals on the surface.) Additionally, the KWs zig-zagged around, and during their frequent 10-minute dives they changed direction and even back-tracked to pop up behind us. Crafty Captain Devin did get everyone some wonderful looks and good quality time with them before they completely disappeared during one of their dives.

On the way home a large pod of long-beaks was encountered.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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