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North and South Channel Explorations

Lately our friend “Top Notch” the humpback has been visiting us on an almost daily basis. The red arrow shows the location of its “notch” or split dorsal fin. photo: Bob Perry

North and South Channel Explorations

Although it was sunny in Santa Barbara Harbor, there was a thin fog bank midway to the Channel Islands.  Luckily the islands were magnificent in the bright sun and fresh breeze.   As for nature sightings today, we closely watched the same medium sized humpback whale that we’ve had the good fortune of seeing for the past week.  I has a lot of barnacles behind its blow holes and a split dorsal fin.  It made several passes up to the Condor Express and then dove below it in the clear blue water.   The crew is starting to call this familiar whale “Top Notch” emphasizing its natural uniqueness.  Common dolphin herds were seen along the north Channel, especially in the same region where we found Top Notch.   This hot zone also had many bands of marauding young sea lions that were eager to come close to the boat and take a close look at their fan club.   The total number of #dolphins was in the 500 – 1,000 range for the day.  We also worked the south Channel where we paid our traditional visit to the famous Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island.  The pigeon guillemots are still around carrying fish into the Cave.  A few Minke whales were observed but were not particularly easy to track with the breeze blowing.  Nick and some of his birders were on board today and reported black storm petrels, 3 kinds of shearwaters led by black vented, Cassin’s auklets, elegant terns, and a jaeger or two.

The breeze is supposed to diminish tomorrow and the rest of the week should be pretty calm. You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express

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