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Lunge-feeding humpback upstaged by a trio of the big blue whales


2015 05-28 SB Channel

Blue whales near the islands and humpbacks not too far off the coast. Although it was mostly spotty thick stratus on today’s excursion, the sky cleared nicely later in the trip when we were watching the blue whales et al. No swells, not much wind, no white caps… What a day! More details:

By 1030am one of our flock of eagle-eyed crew members, Augie, had located the first of many long-beaked common dolphin spots of the trip.   We were 1 mile north of Hillhouse and the #dolphins were actively feeding, mostly upside-down, on the surface. Closer to 1100am, manning the binoculars, Augie located the first humpback whale spout, a juvenile, about 2 miles east of Hogan, along with a patch of associated common dolphins. At one point the juvenile breached once just to see who was paying attention. Clearly I wasn’t since I did not get my camera on it fast enough. Captain Dave believes that the juvenile breached in response to the noise and vibrations caused by another distant breach a few seconds earlier.   This fits the theory that one good breach often signals other whales to join and announce their whereabouts.

1135am. We are now 4 miles south of the Rincon Oil Island where 5 more humpback whales were engaged in mostly sub-surface feeding.   One big #whale did break the surface with a massive vertical feeding lunge and scarred the chubby little sooty shearwaters enough to send them skipping across the water. Among these 5 humpbacks there was also a mother-calf pair. At 1205pm we headed for the island hoping to beat the wind (which never came up).   A small Minke whale surfaced in front of the Condor Express.

Around 100pm we found a “mother lode” of activity up and down (east and west) along The Ridge. The birds, dolphins and whales stretched from the old southbound shipping lane to a point about 4 miles north of Santa Cruz Island. In the whale species mix were 3 blue whales, 2 very large and one a bit smaller.   We got wonderful looks at the two large beasts in the bright sunlight. The Ledge was also hosting a humpback whale feeding event and we saw 3 of these pretty darned close to the boat. Tail flukes were, however, visible along the entire activity strip.   The total common dolphins for the day was over 3,000 estimated.

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

Remember, tomorrow and Sunday we leave at 800am sharp and return around 1230pm.

Also, I’ll get today’s photos processed and put online asap.

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