Lots of humpback whales in the north Channel, close to home.

2022 08-11 SB Channel

A residual bump from overnight offshore turbulence kept our maximum speed down a tad, but the sunny, warm skies kept whale watchers and wildlife seekers happy. Closely-watched species included: 9+ humpback whales, 4000 long-beaked common dolphins and 200 California sea lions.

Scattered feeding pods of dolphins accompanied by dozens of sea lions each made their first appearance about 5 miles southwest of the harbor. Some were feeding groups, others were seeking. After we slowly moved further southwest to a spot outside Hope Ranch, the dolphins attracted a large, adult humpback whale. The entire mammal community was slowly moving east.

In the same area we, once again a long-time whale friend, and one seen yesterday, “Snowflake.” Today, Snowflake let loose with two monster breaches that sent spray flying and chills down our spines. He also threw his robust tail. After whale fans were revived, we watched several additional groups of, as well as singleton, whales. One standout event was a sideways surface lunge feeding that was done with a pectoral fin straight up out of the water. Some of the whales in groups engaged in various vocalizations including grunts and trump blows.

As we trended east and homeward, and about 10 miles due south of Santa Barbara Harbor, additional hotspots produced another whale. Most of our “closely-watched” whale encounters also features more spouts in the near distance, and is why I type a plus (+) in my introductory paragraphs.

Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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