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Mother Lode of Humpback Whales

2016 05-10 SB Channel

Another “June” overcast day with very calm seas that were glassy most of the day.  The crew spotted plenty of activity and it turned out to be an epic day out near the Santa Cruz Channel.  Our totals for the day included 2 gray whales, 9 humpback whales, 6 Dall’s porpoise and at least 350 long-beaked common dolphins.  Here is the whole story:

Right out of the gate I spotted what would turn out to be a very shy gray whale cow-calf pair.  They remained a half-mile or so off the beach and did not turn in to the kelp beds at all while we watched.   They had long down times and an erratic course.  We moved offshore.  Within 40 minutes our first humpback whale was located.  This knobby-headed cetacean turned out to be shy also and its long, 12-minute down times were driving us impatient whale watchers crazy.  We continued offshore.

Around 1055 am a moderately large pod of around 100 long-beaked common dolphins was encountered and we had some great looks.  Soon thereafter a much larger pod was located with at least 250 dolphins, some were feeding upside down, some were chasing the females around upside down.  We continued our path to the south until we reached the 09 line, on the south side of the Lanes, and about even with the Santa Cruz Channel.  Here we saw “the mother lode” of humpback whales…9 closely watched and many more in the area that we did not have time to stay with.  One pair came very close to the Condor Express and swam alongside us for a while as if we were not even there.  A member of another pair threw its tail wildly and caught everyone by surprise…just once.  While we watched the humpback show, approximately 6 Dall’s porpoise passed through the area.  Always fun to see.  It was a massive humpback whale hot spot and lots of fun to watch.

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

PS  I’ll post yesterday and today’s trip pix sometime tomorrow.

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