2019 10-24 SB Channel
Santa Ana (NE) winds that created extreme fire danger to the southeast of us crept offshore and into our region of the Channel today. With a small prevailing west swell interacting with wind and seas from the east, one might say the ocean surface was a bit “confused.” But, alas, what seems a little bumpy to us humans is just part of the normal environment for our wildlife. We had tremendous sightings and both the whales and dolphins were “in their element,” enjoying every minute. In all we watched 9+ humpback whales and 750 long-beaked common dolphins.
Less than an hour into our excursion and in a region of calm and glassy water the first of many pods of dolphins located the Condor Express. In addition to the normal surfing that takes place using the bow, side and stern waves of the boat, there was a lot of feeding and mating going on in this group. Both these behaviors are often carried out upside down and, thus, are easy to find on the blue ocean background.
Near 1130 am we finally got near a nice cluster of 6 humpback whales which “osprey eyes” Devin spotted when they were still 5 miles or so south of us. There was initially one group of 4 whales that were heading north, busting through the on-coming waves and wind. This group temporarily broke up into pairs, then re-formed after a short while. We were near the NOAA buoy at the time and our whales did a bit of socialization (rolling, side swims, pectorals in the air) now and then.
An hour later and about 2 miles northwest of the first whale area, a second spot was located. Here we closely watched 3 whales but there were several more around the zone. These humpbacks were engaged in feeding and following the dolphins from bait ball to bait ball. Another 500 or so dolphins were in this location. One whale did a vertical lunge-feeding action very close to our port side.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and