2019 07-17 SB Channel
Although there was some overcast during the first part of the trip, the sun did come out later and we enjoyed some blue sky. The ocean was lightly choppy, but that did not deter our fearless crew and hearty passengers. Sightings for today were phenomenal: 1500 long-beaked common dolphins, 6 humpback whales, and 50 California sea lions. But the numbers do not tell the whole story! There were scattered dolphin pods everywhere today including right in front of the harbor as we departed this morning. After watching these dolphins, Captain Colton turned to the south east and the general direction of Platform Habitat. Here we located the first two whales of the day, and boy were they fun to watch. Both whales were engaged in surface lunge-feeding which continued for over an hour and a half. They moved from one hot spot to the next. Generally if you saw birds on the surface with some activity, soon thereafter there would be a lunging whale.
One of the two whales that we watched lunge-feeding had a very unique method in its madness. Just before it came up and broke the surface with his mouth open to engulf food, it let loose a stream of bubbles. The bubbles were in more or less a short but straight line that led directly to the spot where the whale would surface. This was certainly not the traditional bubble net feeding that we have seen take place in Alaska. But it was another creative and interesting twist on feeding. We’ve witnessed several creative feeding behaviors this summer. Epic stuff!
Next we moved a little bit further to the west and found a group of 4 whales. These whales were generally friendly. In addition to friendliness one of them did a monstrous tail-throw close to the boat. Wow! Dolphins were also active in the area, as they were all day. There was also a nice raft of 50 California sea lions in a group on the surface that were apparently having a siesta after stuffing themselves on bait. You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com