More Interaction between the Whales and the Kelp.
HERE WE SEE ONE OF A TRIO OF HUMPBACK WHALES THAT HAD A GREAT TIME MAKING SALAD SHREDS OUT OF WHAT STARTED OUT AS A LARGE DRIFTING GIANT KELP PADDY. WHAT FUN !
2015 07-30 SB Channel East
NOAA and the NWS got it a bit wrong today as, based on the marine forecast, we were expecting calm “winds variable, 10 kts or less.” Although it started out pretty nice, within an hour we had some low level white caps and chop. Skies were cloudy with sub-tropical clouds. Nonetheless the marine mammal sightings were outstanding again as Captain Eric and his crew ran to the eastern Santa Barbara Channel to find ’em.
Around 11am our first sighting was a pod of 250 or more long-beaked common dolphins. This turned out to be a nursery pod and some of the little calves were very small indeed. What fun it is to see them leap alongside mom and glide through the crystal cobalt water. Moving to an area southwest of Grace we found another 100 or so #dolphins arranged in pods of random sizes. Here, too we witnessed two pomarine jaegers attacking elegant terns with the dramatic aerial dogfight that comes with it.
In this same area we also found three widely-dispersed humpback whales which included two very large #whales and a juvenile. The trio soon came together and we recognized them as the cow-calf pair with large female escort that we’ve been observing the past few days. While the jaegers swooped overhead, the calf breached within 20 yards of the Condor Express – just once. But the real fun was when the trio found a massive drifting paddy of giant kelp and each took a turn messing around in it. Soon the paddy was disintegrated and the trio moved on. Around 1240 pm we moved on too, heading to the magnificent eastern end of Santa Cruz Island where we toured lovely Potato Harbor before we had to turn and run for home.
It was a little bumpy on the way home, and we stopped on a fourth humpback whale about 7 miles outside Santa Barbara Harbor, then stopped again on about 100 #dolphins that were perhaps 4 miles out.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express