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Thousands of dolphins, loads of wild humpback behaviors and some commentary by me

Image: Today’s trip plotted on a nautical chart of the Santa Barbara Channel. Blue dots = full speed; yellow & orange = slow speed. Source:

2023 05-20 SB Channel

The typical May/June marine layer cleared just after noon with a light breeze on the water. Sightings were phenomenal again and concentrated on the northern side of the Channel (as shown in the image above). Sightings included 11 humpback whales, 2 Minke whales, and 3000 long-beaked common dolphins. Balloon trackers might conclude that today’s absence of such pollution may be due to the seasonal lag between Mother’s Day and Graduation. Stay tuned.

Our first 2 whales were both adults and were just over a mile from the harbor. Nearby was a small pod of common dolphins. (At the end of the trip we found a mega pod even closer to shore). On our southwesterly course, just a mile later we found another adult humpback.

Seven or so miles offshore on our SW course, we came upon a logging mother humpback with her (also logging) calf. After a while, the logging duo awakened (in the non-political sense), breached a few times, then went back to logging.

Two miles further SW 3 more adult whales were encountered. The trio slapped pecs, rolled around, then proceeded to closely MUG the Condor Express for the next 20 minutes…swimming up and down both sides and passing slowly under our twin hulls frequently.

On the way home we watched 2 more whales and a HUGE mega pod of dolphins (briefly mentioned above) near Campus Point.

You never know what mother nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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