Top Notch the humpback with a notch in its dorsal fin gave a top notch performance out on the grounds today.
Our Humpback Whale Friend “Top Notch” Became a double entendre
We spent the day on the north side of the Channel in very flat and calm sea conditions. Morning low stratus gave way to a warm and sunny day with lots of marine life. We would have loved to explore other areas of the Santa Barbara Channel, but the marine mammals would not let us. First up on the hit parade were the Minke whales. There were at least a dozen in the area and several of them came very close to the Condor Express for some outstanding friendly looks. I personally have never seen so many Minke whales concentrated in one zone in the past. Next up we had at least 2,500 common dolphins, probably more, with pod after pod throughout the whole trip. We did not see the massive nursery megapod that was reported yesterday, but many pods did have a few tiny calves. One calf swam upside down underneath mom, perhaps soliciting nursing. The dolphins were not in a big rush, but moved around, milled a bit here and there and were trending to the west. Sea lions were ever present in the more productive hot spots with many seabirds joining the fun.
As for humpback whales, there were four watched closely today and two of them are friends of the Condor Express and have names. Although we only had a short observation period for “Lucky,” the rescued humpback, nonetheless it was in the zone and one of our four humpbacks in the total count. Two other humpbacks included a larger adult and a medium to small adult which were paired up for a while then went their separate ways later. Finally, we encountered our pal “Top Notch” who was all over the zone and we could not escape watching this whale. You may recall that TN has been pretty much “all business” for the past 2 weeks, sometimes coming near the boat, but no other exotic behaviors. Well, today that friendly-but-passive streak ended as TN breached 6 or 7 times, and spent some time in between breaches on its back slapping its long pectorals on the ocean surface. One might say that “Top Notch” gave a top notch performance today, this becoming a double entendre ! C’est magnifique ! I’ll post up the photos from today sometime tomorrow.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express