Image: Our track showing mega-whale abundance (yellow and orange arrows)
It was a wonderful day in the Channel. A very small swell from the west; Absolutely no fog; Blue and sunny skies; and all four islands were in view. This took place with the weather service forecast for strong winds from a Santa Ana event that was happening to the east of us. Sightings included 27+ humpback whales, 2000 long-beaked common dolphins, inshore bottlenose dolphins, and 50 California sea lions.
The bottlenose dolphins were found at the harbor entrance by one of our sharp eyed passengers by the name of Suellen. Follow them along the edge of the breakwater for a while and got some great looks.
Common dolphins were around most of the day especially in areas where there was activity that involved whales.
Our first whale sighting was around 11 o'clock in the morning. And our last group was watched at 1:05 in the afternoon. We had areas with just a couple of whales but more often there were five or more whales in the same area. Most of these whales were in the same area but were acting individually and did not do any grouping up. They were fun to see especially with their beautiful tall spouts catching the fall sunlight and offering producing a rainbow spray. throughout the day wherever we went there were many many more whales in the distance and their spouse could be seen to surround all parts of the boat. There may have been as many as 60 whales in our immediate area, but we only had time to closely watch 27.
Around noon, we found a trio of humpback whales that exhibited some interesting aerial behaviors. One of them breached at least 15 times. Another one threw his tail. And one of the whales, we can't be sure which one, did at least 10 high-arching chin-slaps.
There were a couple of sea lions around the boat almost everywhere we went. (not the same individuals). They appear to respond to their fan Club on the lower deck that we're watching an applauding there every maneuver.
All in all, what we expected to be a windy day, turned out to be one of the best days we've had in a long time.
Condor Express, and