Image: Humpback whales: mother and calf.
2023 07-14 SB Channel
The high stratus layer burned off quickly. Seas were both windy and moderately bumpy. Nonetheless, sightings were very good: 8 humpback whales, 2600 long-beaked common dolphins and 35 California sea lions were seen in the open waters of the Santa Barbara Channel.
We encountered 3 adult whales (a single and a pair) just a few miles south of Hendry’s Beach. All had white tails (like yesterday), and the pair (which we actually saw yesterday) had a habit of kicking up their tails high on each sounding. This area was full of small and medium sized dolphin pods.
Captain Dave and the crew turned south and just a mile later found another adult whale. Eight miles offshore there was a humpback mother and calf (see today’s photograph as an example), more dolphins and a few sea lions. This pair stayed with us for the duration of the trip and interacted with other mammals as they moved into the area. Meanwhile, the little calf interacted with the sea lions, rolled around, swam upside down, did some mini-tail throws and, with mom, made several close passes by the Condor Express.
Animals that moved into the area and interacted consisted a megapod of dolphins (perhaps 1000 animals), and another large adult humpback.
As we left and started to head home, we were beset upon by another megapod and, in the near distance, humpback whale #8 for the trip.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and