It is fascinating to me how the gray whale migration along the Santa Barbara Coast comes in waves. Take today for example. Captain Eric ran two trips, 12 noon and 3pm, each 2½ hours long. They were both excellent trips with wonderful sightings, and a total of 14 gray whales plus 300 or so long-beaked common dolphins were observed.
On the noon excursion, we found 2 pairs of gray whales (more spouts in the distance). These #whales were steadily moving up the coast and spent a lot of time on the surface. The ocean was calm and blue, and there was hazy, warm sunshine. We had a great time with these whales, plus at least 250 long-beaked common dolphins came by to play. A good trip.
However, on the 3pm adventure, 10 gray whales were seen. The first group included 6 whales that spent over 90 minutes rolling around, swimming upside down at high speeds, tail slapping, chin slapping, and opening their mouths to show their baleen to the world. They never left the surface during the entire sighting, and after it was over the group split in two….three and three. Next about 50 common #dolphins played on the bow and entertained the fans. This led us to 2 more pairs of gray whales about a mile apart, and each pair was a large adult and a small juvenile, perhaps a yearling, whale. In both cases the juvenile became very friendly and approached the Condor Express.
The best hypothesis I can come up with regarding today’s migratory pattern was that gray whales must leave the lagoons in waves, and/or mix and match as they come up the coast so as to form pulses of large cetacean bodies all together.