Gray whales mating and Pink Floyd. Photo by Captain Eric Nickisch

Mating gray whales and tons of wildlife

2017 03-07 SB Coast

Two trips left the dock today and they were both fantastic. Sea conditions were good for the 9am trip and got even better for our 12 noon excursion.  Highlights included mating gray whales and tons of wildlife.  Here are the details:

9 am
It was bright and sunny with a light bump on the surface as the Condor Express headed west towards Hope Ranch.  Here we got involved with at least 300 long-beaked common dolphins interacting with lots of anchovy schools in the water.  Sea birds were diving and crashing all over this hot spot and it was getting kind of NatGeo out there.  After a while the crew spotted tall spouts just a little bit south of the dolphin frenzy.  This would turn out to be 2 northbound gray whales that fluked-up regularly and were fun to watch.  On the way back to the harbor a second large dolphin-bird-anchovy hot spot was encountered, and then one small northbound gray whale.

12 noon
Our first sighting was a single, shy, gray whale found off the Lighthouse.  By this point the ocean surface had become quite glassy and calm.  Almost immediately after the lone whale was seen another dolphin hot spot started to develop off More Mesa.  Again, we could see large anchovy schools in the water and sea bird masses all feeding with the dolphins.  But the real hot sighting of the day took place a half-mile south of the dolphins.  Three adult gray whales were engaged in courtship and mating activities that went on and on.  We saw lots of rolling around and couples playing.  Whales spy-hopped and showed both pectoral and tail flukes.  A lot of high speed rushing around would occur at times.  And, hide this from the toddlers, pink Floyd was to be seen everywhere.  Certainly the mating gray whales and tons of wildlife made this an epic adventure.

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

PS.The harbor has been dredged to a point where we can easily get out and back on all tides.

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