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Pseudorca – False Killer Whales

We ran two trips today, noon and 3pm.   All of the action took place on the late afternoon trip. We had been on the lookout for gray whales, but in the back of our minds were pilot whales. Another boat had reported pilot whales far to the east and earlier in the morning.   So when our eagle-eyed deckhand Tasha thought she was seeing pilot whales in her binoculars, we believed her and tried to get our bino’s focused in on the same area. She was looking about 3 miles south of our location, near the line of oil platforms (C, B, A, and Hillhouse). As we approached we saw numerous large black dolphin-like animals, many of which were leaping.

This herd was moving fast to the west at perhaps 6 – 8 knots. When we finally got within easy viewing distance, it turned out these were not pilot whales at all.   We had at least 40 false killer whales. These animals were very animated and frequent mid-air 360° flips were going off around us.   The pod was spread out and groups of two to six individuals were observed. Numerous calves were seen with their mothers, like the one in the photograph above. We stayed with this fascinating species for about an hour after which it was getting too dark to take a decent photograph.

I’ve personally never seen false killer whales (#falsekillerwhales ) in the Santa Barbara Channel prior to today.

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

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