Fin whale. (taken on previous Condor Express trip)

Some of the best whale and dolphin sightings in years

2017 07-07 SB Channel

Excellent weather and sea conditions resulted in the Condor Express getting great looks at the following animals:  9 humpback whales, 2 blue whales, 1 fin whale and 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins.  Some of the best whale and dolphin sightings in years are taking place now in the Santa Barbara region.

Captain Dave headed southeast and located his first batch of humpback whales and dolphins feeding with a lot of surface commotion caused by sea birds and California sea lions.  5 humpback whales were closely watched here, with many more all around the area.  Two of these whales were our pal Rope and her calf.  As reported yesterday (and in previous years), Rope did some open-mouth, surface “chomping,” a behavior for which we only have tentative hypotheses. My favorite hypothesis for this uncommon activity is known as the “mouth and baleen rinse” theory and suggests these highly intelligent mammals practice good oral hygiene.

Continuing on a southeasterly track we found a disturbing bit of news about our giant blue whales.  They had moved north overnight and were active smack-dab in the middle of the northbound commercial shipping lanes (aka, “The Lanes”).  We are hoping some Coast Guard announcements will be forthcoming soon, warning container ships, tankers, car carriers and bulk carrier vessel to avoid the whale area.  One of the 2 giant blue whales sighted in The Lanes was Camelo.  A single, small fin whale (same one we watched yesterday) came head-first towards the Condor Express then rolled over so everyone got a great look at its white patch in super clear, blue water.

On the way home, a massive hot spot was located with sea birds, sea lions, at least 4 humpback whales (more all around the area) and many hundreds of common dolphins.  It was a giant feeding frenzy situation.

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

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