5 humpbacks and 3500 dolphins

Bob Perrywhale watching california

Common dolphins and a humpback whale feeding on the same concentrations of northern anchovies in the Santa Barbara Channel.

2020 11-22 SB Channel

Although the sun was shining brightly, it was a bit chilly in the Channel due to the fresh breeze and moderate seas. Luckily, these kinds of conditions can magnify spouts and spray and actually make spotting cetaceans no problem at all. Sightings today included 5 humpback whales and 3500 long-beaked common dolphins.

Small groups of dolphins first located the Condor Express in the northbound Lanes. All around this area we found surface bait balls and dolphins diving to feed subsurface as well. The whales followed the dolphins around and took advantage of their echo-location skills and ability to concentrate the little anchovies into a tight ball.  “All the better to eat you with my dear!”

The first whale was a sub-adult, medium small individual surrounded by dolphins. Later it would temporarily join, and feed with, two large adults. The adults were located as they performed a classic double-breach in the near distance. The trio had to dodge huge container ships heading north in The Lanes by diving beneath their hulls and re-surfacing 5 or 6 minutes later. Unfortunately, the commercial traffic today was not slowing for cetaceans!

Later, and a bit further north, we found two more humpbacks and spent quality time with them. Great looks were had by all.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com