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Mirror glass surface with humpbacks, bottlenose and long-beaked common dolphins

2022 01-29 SB Channel

Skies were mostly cloudy with a few sucker holes here and there for the sun to shine through and make you think the clouds were going to burn off. It never did burn off, but there wasn’t a breath of wind all day until we were half-way home to Santa Barbara Landing. Sightings included: 5 inshore bottlenose dolphins, 50 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 2000 long-beaked common dolphins and 2 humpback whales. During the trip, the crew promoted healthy seas and better biodiversity by retrieving 3 deflated Mylar helium balloons and 1 large oil-changing pan from the ocean surface.

The first mammals we watched were a handful of coastal bottlenose that were cruising eastbound through the harbor entrance and into the east beach anchorage. Looks were pretty good.

As we moved across the glassy ocean heading southwest, then west, we intercepted a mega pod of common dolphins. Among the group members we saw a fair amount of leaping. They were boat-friendly and rode our bow, side and stern waves. The pod was constantly on the move and did not engage in a resting state nor did they feed while we watched.

Later we found the first of the two humpback whales we watched closely today. It was a juvenile, tracking southeast, and had a short, two-breath surface time. Nonetheless, it was fun to see on the mirror glass surface.

Moving back on course, we soon found ourselves in the separation zone between the north bound and south bound ships from the port of LA/Long Beach. It was here we observed our second humpback whale and, later, engaged with a robust herd of offshore bottlenose dolphins. The whale was an adult and has been identified as “CRC 11673,” first seen in 2003. It was also seen in Monterey CA and Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur. It had a pure white tail surrounded by a jet-black border, like a framed photograph. Unfortunately, it also bore a deep scar, from an earlier entanglement wound, near its tail flukes. The wound was healed and did not seem to effect the whale’s swimming ability.

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

Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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