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“Top Notch” holds a meet-and-greet

Our pal “Top Notch” is seen mugging the Condor Express and rolling over, waving its long pectoral flipper at the same time. The eyeball is visible. Who is watching who?

“Top Notch” holds a meet-and-greet

There was a subtropical breeze and a few warm sprinkles in the Santa Barbara Channel on our way out to the grounds.  Along the way we watched a few long beaked common dolphins, and in fact only saw a total of 100 or so for the trip.  Soon the breeze subsided and the ocean surface got an oily mirror glass finish.  The sun was bright and the ocean water was even bluer and clearer than previously reported…or at least that’s how it appeared to my blue eyes.  Captain Dave and Augie were our main spotters today and we ended up with 3 humpback whales.  But what a fine bunch of #whales they were.   First up, we watched the juvenile we call “whitey pects” and its mother.  The mother has been identified by Cascadia Research as “CRC-12083 which has been seen since 2005 mostly in the SBC.”  They are aware of the calf now and we should know its database designation soon.  Later in the trip we found another, older juvenile, the one we’ve been calling “Top Notch.”  This whale was spotted 2 or 3 miles away because it breached and then settled into some pectoral flipper slapping for a while.  Now here is some curious and potentially coincidental news for you regular readers and humpback whale lovers.  Top Notch, as you already know, was named because it has a distinct notch in its dorsal fin, among other features.  When I was discussing “whitey pects” with John Calambokidis from Cascadia, he mentioned  “The interesting thing is it looks like she  [mother of whitey-pects, CRC-12083]  had a calf in both 2013 and 2014 which is a little surprising but there is no fluke shot of the calf in 2013 (had a distinct notch in the dorsal fin however).”  (I subsequently sent fluke and notch shots back to John).  Conclusion:  there is a possibility that CRC-12083 is the mother of whitey AND Top Notch !   …all in the family, eh?

The story of the trip today was all about Top Notch.  The short of it is that Topper came over and under the boat several times and lingered around, rolled around, and spouted within a few feet of its loyal fan club on the Condor Express.  And as a reminder, all this happened in the clearest blue water we’ve seen all year (see photo above).   I’ll have the rest of the images online sometime tomorrow.

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

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