I’ve been shooting photos on the Condor Express for 8 years and I have never, ever seen so much humpback whale gluttony on one trip as we saw today. We had over a dozen humpback whales in an area to the southeastern Santa Barbara Channel. Most of them came together on a hot spot and continued to lunge feed on the surface and below, for over an hour. Sea birds were thick and actively diving, and at least 300 common dolphins helped work the anchovy schools into a tight ball for each consumption. Three Minke whales slid by very close the to the Condor Express, feeding along the edges of this massive food frenzy. It made dining table depictions of Henry the VIII look timid. On and on it went, fish jumping everywhere. Finally, as if by magic, the “switch” turned off and it was over. Probably not enough living anchovies left to make it worth while.
The sea conditions were absolutely immaculate. Clear, sunny crisp and visibilities from San Miguel down to Boney Ridge with all 4 norther Channel Islands clearly visible. The water was also blue and clear down on the hot spot. Just outside the Harbor we saw 2 inshore bottlenose dolphins, and outside on the way to the feeding grounds we encountered about 10 offshore bottlenose dolphins. A great day for cetacean diversity AND abundance.
I’ll post up the photos before Thanksgiving hopefully.
hope to see you soon