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Many humpbacks, loads of dolphins and a mega-nursery pod!

Image: A long-beaked common dolphin nursery pod

2023 07-18 SB Channel

There were spectacular sea and weather conditions again today. The water was extremely clear, too. Sightings included 7000 long-beaked common dolphins, 8 humpback whales, 200 California sea lions and 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

Dolphin pods, small near the shore and massive soon thereafter, were with us starting 2 miles out. After a few scattered groups, we moved southwest a few miles and found 5 or 6 super mega pods…as far as the eye could see. One of these mega pods was a nursery pod, and quite a few of the calves were newborn…with well developed fetal folds. (See today’s photo for an example). Among all these small cetaceans we found 3 whales, a pair plus a single. They moved slowly along following the dolphins around. Many sea lion groups were also around the dolphins.

On our route southwest towards the NOAA East Channel Buoy, we observed a huge adult ocean sunfish (Mola mola) playing peek-a-boo under a drifting giant kelp paddy. After we circled The Buoy we watched 5 more humpback, 4 of them had white pectoral fins. One of these whales breached 6 times!

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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