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Ten Gray Whales Cavort Today

2016 03-03 SB Channel

Who knew a 2½-hour trip could be so productive, or should that be “reproductive?” Captain Dave took the help of the mighty Condor Express today with hazy sun everywhere and a light breeze blowing from the west. You could make out the islands but not with any detail. Second Captain Eric was all around the boat including handling binocular duty. Tasha was doing her thing in Café Condor. We racked-up a total of 10 northbound gray whales and perhaps as many as 50 long-beaked common dolphins too. But there is much more to this story, please read on:

12 noon We had barely left the California sea lions sleeping on the outer harbor entrance buoy when our first 2 of the 10 total gray whales came into view. As was the case earlier this week, these were smaller whales, perhaps juveniles, and they did not put up much of a spout. No problem, because it was “one of those days.”

Soon after following the shy juveniles more spouts were observed nearby. These were spouts from a trio of gray whales, one of which greeted the Condor Express with a very nice, almost full-body breach. We followed for a while and, you guessed it…

A half hour later we found two nice gray whales. By “nice” I mean they fluked-up a lot and this always makes their fan club cheer and get happier. As fate would have it, we were diverted away from this pair around twenty minutes later.

The first of two “threesomes” were found, one closer to the beach than the other at least at the start of the sighting. Like other trios we’ve been seeing lately there was a lot of courtship-like behavior with head stands, spy hops, tail flukes writhing around, as well as some chasing and rolling. Soon the second threesome slowly passed the first group and they were similarly occupied. My camera lens got all steamed up, but I took so many shots I probably won’t finish post processing until Sunday or Monday.

On the way back to the harbor Eric located a mini hot spot full of sea birds, sea lions and long-beaked common dolphins all feeding on a small northern anchovy bait ball. Loads of action all around. What a day!

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

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