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Southbound Gray Whales and Dolphins

A gray and overcast morning greeted us as we left the dock at 9am for the first of three trips today. Seas we calm with a light breeze blowing. This was trip for the sharp-eyed human as we saw 3 gray whales, but each of them only made one appearance and then vanished. They even tempted us with footprints, but despite our patience and sharp eyes, we just could not get relocated on any of them. The morning trip also featured about 25 long-beaked common dolphins and some were mixed equally with California sea lions.

The trip at high noon was delightful. By that time the sun has sort of broken out through the clouds and created some hazy warmth. The breeze had died and the ocean was mill pond glassy in some spots. The sharp eyes of our deckhand Augie found us a southbound gray whale very quickly. He use altitude to his advantage as he stood on the roof of the wheelhouse of the old Condor all day and found just about everything we saw. Kudo’s, Augie.   This trip also had about 25 common #dolphins. Now, about the gray whale, it kept a fairly regular easterly course (southbound) and only left the surface periodically. The clear blue water made it easy to track and photograph. Sometimes it veered close to the Condor, and at other times it veered away a bit. But after one of its rare dives, it did come up smack dab off our bow – again the water was clear and the view was spectacular. Luckily we had disengaged the propellers and were just drifting as we watched for it to surface. Wow.

On the afternoon (3 pm) trip we ran up to UCSB along the coastal kelp beds without any luck. We turned south (offshore) and found 2 gray whales.   One of the #whales breached fairly close to the Condor and thrilled the fans. The second whale was more elusive.   We stayed with the breacher for a while and got good looks.

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

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