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Similar to yesterday: magnificent conditions, magnificent whales and dolphins

Image: two surface, vertical lunge-feeding humpback whales

2023 11-02 SB Channel

Seas were calm again today. Skies were blue and it was warm in the Channel. The water clarity was good. Closely-watched cetaceans included 19+ humpback whales, 1 Minke whale and 6000 long-beaked common dolphins.

Once we got 10 – 12 miles offshore, on the edge of the northbound lane, humpback whales and dolphins were visible everywhere as far as the binocular-aided eye could see. Captain Dave could easily see 40+ whales, but, alas, due to time constraints we “only” watched 19 closely.

Four miles from home we briefly watched a shy Minke whale. There are at least 2 in this area and sometimes, but not today, we see them both together. Once in a while they can get friendly.

The dolphin, whale and bird masses were driven by an extraordinary amount of northern anchovy surface and near-surface bait balls today. There were many flash birdnados, and some of them proved to be natural markers for vertical lunge-feeding whales. (See today’s photo for and example). Water clarity was a big PLUS for spotting these bait balls and all the near-surface, underwater action. One lunge session included at least 10 lunges, some singles and a few duos.

We had several instances of whales coming close to the Condor Express and getting friendly, briefly. None qualified as a mugging in the strictest sense. One whale spent a considerable amount of time kelping with the brown algae on its head like a crown. It did a high spy hop and pirouette before sinking slowly. Then it moved sideways to let the seaweed run across its back. Finally, the beast disappeared into the deep, with the kelp.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store,

Bob Perry Condor Express, and

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