2022 08-17 SB Channel
We headed south out of the harbor and quickly found ourselves surrounded by dense fog. Later, on the south side of The Lanes, the fog dissipated and the rest of the trip was sunny and bright. Closely-watched species today: 1 Minke whale, 13+ humpback whales and 2500 long-beaked common dolphins.
Right at the start, and just a mile or two outside the harbor entrance, we saw a Minke whale spout. It was a very large spout, perhaps buoyed upwards by the gentle breeze, but enough to trick us for a minute into thinking it might be a humpback. It made three more quick trips to the surface and disappeared.
There were common dolphins everywhere, mostly in small pods. Many seemed not to hunt, but were engaged in playtime and messing about with each other.
A few minutes later our first humpback had a deformed/scarred tail and the crew knew it was “Twitch.” Twitch was first recorded in 2019 and subsequently re-sighted 59 times between San Diego and Santa Barbara. Today it was on a fast track to the west with plenty of dolphins around.
About an hour later (and after the fog went away) we started to get into a very productive zone, several miles wide, and 6 miles north of the eastern portion of Santa Cruz Island. We spent the rest of the trip here enjoying the various whales and their behaviors.
One whale in particular, a very speckled individual, took up at least 45 minutes of our time as it was highly animated. It started on its back with both pectoral flippers up, then spent its time doing a wide-assortment of tail-throws. It was a creative whale and I’ve personally not seen such a repertoire of throws from a single whale. (Please see my photo for today).
Captain Devin took us on a brief visit to the eastern sea cliffs of the island and went into beautiful Potato Harbor (so-named because some one thought the outline of the harbor as viewed from its surrounding cliffs resembled a potato).
On the way home, more distant spouts, lots more dolphins and a single whale that transected our path and caused Devin to move out of its way carefully.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and www.CondorExpressPhotos.com