Image: TOA, the humpback whale – HappyWhale.com report
2023 09-13 SB Channel
It was kind of a wild ride up to the western Channel with bumpy seas (from overnight winds) and there was also a thick marine stratus layer. Winds were calm and the seas calmed down a bit for the afternoon. Sightings included 5 humpback whales, 2000 long-beaked common dolphins and 150 California sea lions.
We started interacting with dolphins about 2 miles off the Goleta coast. Pods were small and scattered, but, as we continued west, the size and frequency of the pods increased. West of Platform Holly, among the dolphins and sea lions, we found and watched two individual humpback whales.
One of the whales was a large adult and had long down times. The other was a smaller whale with a very ragged and raked tail fluke. The fluke, being so uniquely deformed and scarred, led Kelly and Samantha (our crew) to quickly identify the whale as “Toa.” Not only have we seen Toa before, but we are the only vessel to have ever reported it, and, of course, only from the Santa Barbara Channel. BTW – Kelly was the original/first sighter of this whale in its history. (See the HappyWhale screenshot above).
A bit southeast of Holly, among more dolphins, we briefly watched a 3rd whale, a juvenile with long dive times. On the way home we slowly drove by 2 more humpbacks.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and