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Near record numbers of humpbacks including our friend, Black Rakes!

Image: “Black Rakes,” the humpback whale, calf of another old pal, “Chompers,” was born in 2014. It’s distinctive Orca tail fluke rake scars make Black Rakes easily identifiable.

2023 04-21 SB Coast

Calm, glassy seas with bright sun all day! A major humpback whale hot spot was discovered and brough near record-breaking sighting numbers: 32 humpback whales and 800 California sea lions. A 9a and a 12n trip left the docks.

On the morning adventure, Captain Dave and the crew took a coast-hugging westerly course to scan for gray whale cow-calf pairs without luck. At Goleta Bay he turned offshore and about 5 miles out found a large area of activity. At least 20 individual spread-out humpback whales were counted, with hundreds of sea lions and active seabirds feeding. All of the whale feeding was sub-surface. Among the whales we saw 2 humpback mothers with calves, pectoral fin slapping, breaching, and also experienced 4 or more very friendly visits. Another one of our easily recognized individuals, Black Rakes, was present today (see photo).

At noon, a single, shy humpback about 2 miles off Hendry’s was briefly watched…we proceeded back to the morning hot spot. On the scene we found that the spread-out whales had tightened up and we watched at least 12 humpbacks in close proximity, again with a huge entourage of sealions and predatory birds. The same 2 cow-calf pairs were present. More friendly visits took place and wonderful tail flukes were seen (except for the non-fluking calves!)

Side note: the gelatinous Purple Sailors (Velella velella) are still around in patches here and there.

You never know what mother nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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Apr 22, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Quite possibly one of the most spectacular experiences we had! Did not disappoint. It was amazing to see the humpback whales, sea lions and birds all feasting so close to us. One curious humpback whale even came under our boat and came up for air next to us. Wow. Just WOW!

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