A stunning encounter with two exceedingly friendly humpback whales on a spectacular day.

A beautiful mugging.

2019 10-26 SB Channel

Wonderful mill pond glassy conditions prevailed all day long. There was no swell and the above-water vistas included all 4 islands.  We watched 3 humpback whales and 2500 long-beaked common dolphins. As often happens, these numbers do not tell the exciting story of today’s epic encounter.

A huge pod of dolphins that stretched for miles brought everyone to the rails for excellent views.  Although there were only a few cow-calf pairs, but these were friendly animals and good looks were had by all.  A helium Mylar balloon was retrieved from the surface, and we passed by the NOAA buoy to photograph the sea lions.

Adam spotted some breaching that was easily 6 or 8 miles to the south.  Upon arrival on the scene we found a tight pair of humpback whales, and although one of them did a lot of rolling and pectoral fin slapping, the breaching had ceased.  Soon the two whales began to interact with each other and the Condor Express. Over the next hour the friendly and animated pair swam around the perimeter of the boat.  They swam under the boat and surfaced near the bow.  On at least one occasion a whale rushed towards the boat only to turn away (at speed) and sent its wake up the port side. A trip across our bow sent a massive spout wafting across the rail/whale lovers (“kissed by the whale?”). Another rush resulted in a super close and friendly spy hop.

The pair swam off, away from the boat, a few times, only to come right back and continue the mugging.  It was one of the best friendly close encounters we’ve had in years.

On the way home we watched a few more large dolphin pods and had a quick look at a third whale.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com

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