11 active and surfac-feeding humpbacks, 8 gray whales…some socializing, and 1500 dolphins. Whew!

Bob Perrywhale watching california

Multiple gray whales engage in social behaviors near the Santa Barbara coast...similar to some of our sightings today!

2020 03-14 SB Channel

Happy Pi Day to all!

There was intermittent rain all day punctuated by short bursts of sun streaming down through the gaps. Two trips, noon and 3pm, left the docks and each had spectacular results.  The raw estimates included: 11+ humpback whales, 8 gray whales and 1500 long-beaked common dolphins. Per usual, the raw totals don’t tell the whole story.

Both trips located (different) groups of gray whales within 2 miles or less of the shoreline.  The morning gray whales were happy migraters, moving ahead steadily on their northbound run and showing big tail flukes frequently. In the afternoon we were fortunate to encounter a trio of playful, socializing gray whales that did a lot of rolling around and closely approached the Condor Express a bunch of times.

Each trip concluded by a short run further offshore to a large hotspot area with hundreds of dolphins (on each trip), seabirds diving and feeding, and large bait balls of northern anchovies visible through the clear water. Humpbacks were also feeding with the rest of the carnivores.  The morning humpback did some surface lunge-feeding and some tail-throwing. The afternoon humpbacks did even more aggressive surface lunge-feeding, some of which was quite close to the boat.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store!
Bob Perry
Condor Express, and