7 humpback whales
2,000 common dolphins
1 minke whale (fleeting glimpse)
Well, whale lovers, it did not take Captain Mat very long to locate humpback whales today. Due to his talent for smelling out whales out of a vast Pacific Ocean, all the whales we watched closely were within a half dozen or so miles from shore, and at times very close indeed. But the real fun was the abundance of anchovy schools again in the northern Channel which kept the whales moving and feeding like a huge all-you-can-eat cafeteria. At one point a mother and calf humpback whale pair breached repeatedly well within visual range. This same duo then began surface lunge feeding on one bait ball after another. At another point in the trip, a very unusual behavior from the huge mother whale was witnessed by all: she did a “head stand,” with her body vertical and at least half of it out of the water, tail flukes in the air. She looked like the whale impression of the Statue of Liberty off the Santa Barbara Coast. We see milder versions of this posture when some humpbacks perform a tail slap or lob-tail, but in this case the straight up and down position was followed by her slow vertical descent into the deep. Another smaller whale was making a bee-line to the east Channel when it suddenly turned 90-degrees to enjoy a few minutes of serious kelping. (Kelping is when humpback whales roll around and rub their bodies in a paddy of drifting giant kelp and other species of sea veggies…often accompanied by pectoral slapping, etc) Another larger whale was our friend “Moustachio” with the damaged frontal baleen that hangs our like a bushy moustache. (The sub-Order Mysticeti to which baleen whales belong derives its name from the latin name for moustache…as a side note).
Of course there were plenty of common dolphins feeding all around with numerous sea lions and sea birds joining the feast. Sunny skies and fairly calm, almost glassy sea conditions prevailed.
I’ll post up the photos sometime tomorrow.
hope to see you on board while the whales are still frisky