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So many spine-tingling humpback moments today.

Image: adult humpback whale mugs the Condor & spy hops

2023 05-15 SB Channel

Captain Devin and his crew reported flat, calm seas with no wind all day. Sightings went WAY BEYOND these counts for the trip: 5 humpback whales, 5 California sea lions, 1 blue shark and 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

About an hour and a half of this trip was spent watching humpback whales about 1 mile east of the NOAA East Channel Buoy. Here’s why. Around 11am our deckhand Anna located a single, large, adult humpback “from heaven”. After 3 dramatic surface side-lunge feeding events, this beast settled in with about 40 minutes of extremely close mugging. This included spy-hopping and pectoral flipper slapping repeatedly while circling around the boat and across the bow. People got soaked and were loving it. It also did a few stationary head stands and spent some time messing around with a single sea lion pup.

About this time, 2 adult whales and a sub-adult TRIPLE BREACHED quite close to the Condor Express, then, perhaps following the vibe laid down by the earlier whale, the trio mugged the boat for about 22 minutes. This included quite a few shallow swims under our twin hulls.

After this stupendous start, we moved into the 1-mile-wide separation zone between The Lanes, where Anna spotted a decent sized blue shark finning along the calm surface. It came close to the boat several times and everyone had great looks. Soon after the shark encounter we briefly looked at another humpback that was swimming 6 kts heading west.

On the way home we found a 12” ocean sunfish (Mola mola) feeding on purple sailors (Velella velella).

You never know what mother nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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May 16, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great day today. Far better than I hoped for!

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