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Wonderful coastal weather and 3 different species of whales.

Image: coastal northbound migratory gray whales – mating behavior

2023 04-01 SB Coast

Blue skies and calm seas set the stage for some phenomenal sightings along the Santa Barbara coast. Three 2½ hour trips resulted in: 5 gray whales, 1 humpback whale and 1 Minke whale.

Our first cetaceans were a foursome of adult gray whales encountered about 4 miles off Goleta Bay. We stayed behind this group and watched them for over an hour as they rolled around, had body contact with each other and were probably mating.

The mid-day trip was greeted by a super friendly juvenile Minke whale off Hope Ranch. It approached the Condor Express several times and swam alongside resulting in wonderful looks. Later in this voyage Captain Dave gave us a Platform Holly tour and not long after that we found a single adult humpback feeding. There were numerous surface anchovy bait balls and the whale did a lot of sideways lunges to gather its lunch.

We rejoined the humpback (it was still busy feeding) on the afternoon excursion. Many of the feeding episodes seemed to be in slow motion and, again, the sideways attack was employed…pectoral fin in the air during the meal. On the way back to the harbor we had a quick and good sighting of another gray whale.

You never know what mother nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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