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Santa Cruz Island blue whales have distinct dive patterns.

2020 10-09 Santa Cruz Island – West

High, thin stratus gave way to blue skies above the land of the giants along the western end of Santa Cruz Island. Weather was cooler today and a light breeze punctuated an autumnal feel. Sighting today included: 2 giant blue whales and 1000 long-beaked common dolphins.

Captain Dave reported the first large herd of dolphins about 6 miles offshore, surrounded by feeding seabirds. This was a long, spread-out hot spot and it was surprising NOT to find a humpback or two in the mix. In the afternoon, about 3 miles out from the harbor, another good sized pod located the Condor Express.

The first giant was encountered in The Lanes adjacent to the world-famous Painted Cave. It was an unusual whale with 15 minute dive times. Its surface breathing behavior was also unique. A few short breaths was followed by a period of shallow, just beneath the surface, swimming…a few more breaths, shallow swim, until a final sounding. During the surface swims the sun was bright and the water was clear. The “blue streak” of bright light reflected off the body of the beast…always a marvel.

After moving east along The Lanes a second giant was watched. It followed a breathing pattern much more like what has been typical this year: 8 minute dive followed by a dozen or so breaths, then a sounding dive.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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