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Whale City Features a Breacher

A fearless California sea lion is seen pestering a humpback whale.

Whale City Features a Breacher

It was “Whale City” out on the eastern Santa Barbara Channel today.  There was a light breeze and tiny chop on the blue, clear water.  The first whale was spotted by keen-eyed Augie the deck-meister who leaves the decks and finds whales all the time.  It was a regular, small humpback whale that we’ve seen a lot this year and named “Top Notch” due to the, you guessed it, notch in its dorsal fin.  Not too original, but it works.  TN got lots of style points by surfacing near the boat today and sporting a short, 5 minute down time.  It is a fun #whale to watch.   Next we saw two more spouts together about a mile to the south.   It was that huge mother whale (at least 40 ft) and her highly animated calf (the one that breached 74 times in a row last week).  Up and down the two whales calmly went, but then a marauding pack of sea lions moved in and started to pester the calf.  The calf responded by laying out 3 enormous breaches, one of which was close enough to the Condor Express that I got the shoulders and heads of whale watchers in the same frame as the breaching calf.  Wow!   After some nice breaches to teach the pesky sea lions a few tricks, the calf rolled over and slapped its white pectoral fins on the water a bunch of times….you may recall that it has pectoral fins that are white on both sides, and a white underside to its tail flukes with a prominent killer whale rake scar pattern.

Our next strategy was to explore the mid-Channel down east, and we covered a lot of water searching for any other #whales that might be in the region.  The middle zone was fairly quiet and there were no common dolphins there nor whales.  We ran back towards the beach where the dolphins and whales were…by the way, there were several small pods around most of the day but no mega-pods, so our total estimate for dolphins was perhaps 500 or so.   Many had calves with them.   There were also at least 3 or 4 Minke whales and two of them came REALLY close to the boat.   Great looks were had by all on this fabulous sunny day.

I’ll edit and post the photographs from today’s trip sometime tomorrow.

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

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