Thousands of dolphins and 2 friendly humpbacks seen among the large swells and fresh breeze
2022 06-26 SB Channel
A nice sunny sky became enveloped in a marine layer that, at times, reduce visibility to ½ mile as we got offshore a little bit. Later, the skies became bright blue and sunny from the shipping lanes south towards Santa Cruz Island. The sea conditions changed quite a lot as we approached The Lanes. The southern Channel was a bit rough, full of white caps and very breezy. The bright sun and wonderful sightings made everyone oblivious to the sea conditions. Sightings today included 2 humpback whales and 4700 long-beaked common dolphins.
The big population numbers were, as you know, in the dolphin herds. Here’s how they were encountered: 1030 am a feeding herd that formed small hot spots with sea birds, especially pelicans, 1115 am a mega pod with a few mothers and calves, 1130 am a group of about 200 feeding mostly just beneath the surface, and, at the last, 150 pm we watched 2000 more along a long line that paralleled the shore.
Our humpback whale encounter started at 1225 when deckhand, Adam, spotted a tight pair, and we studied them for about a hour. At first, the pair was in “travel mode,” heading east along the surface without leaving it. After a while they passed very close to the Condor Express and slow enough to really enjoy the sights. It appeared the pair went back to travelling, when, out of nowhere, one breached and laid down a huge splash. Back to travel. Again, a random unannounced mighty tail throw. Soon after that, they came in on us from astern and made a second extremely close and friendly pass. For me, seeing these majestic beasts “in their element,” busting over the top of the swells with the spray going all over, is one of the best sights in the world.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and www.CondorExpressPhotos.com