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“Rope” returns with massive tail throws and lots of aromatherapy

2015 05-21 SB Channel

Captain Eric ran the show today and what a show it was…thanks, in part, to the keen whale-eyes of deckhand Augie. The adventure started off with a bang as we watched a medium-sized ocean sunfish (Mola mola) about a half mile south of east beach. Continuing out to where Augie saw spouts we found two Minke Whales and 1 nice humpback whale near Houchin. After some nice observations at this first stop we continued east to a spot 1 mile past Henry where a hot spot was developing. Long-beaked common dolphins (a total of 2,500 or so) worked the hot spot and surrounding regions along with lots of sooty shearwaters, a few gulls, and lots of crashing brown pelicans.

There turned out to be approximately 12 #whales in this region, including one mother humpback and her calf. The group came together, got hot, then spread out…and the cycle repeated a few times.   On the hotter hot spots some vertical surface lunge feeding was observed.   That’s always NatGeo. After a while the whales and #dolphins dispersed around the area, and we moved over to two large adult humpback whales because one of them breached twice in the distance and one of the slapped its tail a couple of times.

Upon arriving on the scene, our two humpbacks turned out to be our old pal “Rope” and a friend. This is our first sighting of Rope this season and what a sighting it was. Both whales slammed and threw their mighty tail flukes several dozen times, and the air was filled with trumpet vocalizations as well as that “special” humpback aroma. Some of this aggressive behavior may have been in response to a very pesky young California sea lion that did not leave the two big whales alone. The sea lion came over to the boat a few times, then went back on its mission to swim in and around the whales.

The whole day was overcast as we expect a late storm to drizzle on us later tonight, and the winds associated with this weather system rose steadily throughout the excursion.   I personally love seeing humpback whales do their “thang” when the winds are blowing as it adds to the drama.

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

I’ll get today’s photographs posted online sometime this weekend.

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