Cetacean sightings were in the stratosphere.

Bob Perryblue whales, common dolphins, humpback whales, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Island

A huge humpback whale went into a serious tail-throwing episode today in the Santa Barbara Channel.

2017 06-24 SB Channel

A mixture of bright sunny areas and a few overcast areas created an excursion with lots of different moods.  Cetacean sightings were in the stratosphere.  7 blue whales, 13 humpback whales and 2,500 long-beaked common dolphins were closely watched.  The seas were calm until we got to the Santa Cruz Island whale grounds where the breeze was strong and this made lots of whitecaps on the surface.

Just a half-hour after leaving the dock, we were about 3 miles south of The Mesa where we encountered 6 humpback whales swimming among approximately 1,000 dolphins.  Great close ups and a few nice tail flukes were seen during this sighting.  Captain Dave and his eyes/ears/2nd Captain Eric continued south and about an hour later there were 3 more humpback whales and several hundred additional dolphins.

After crossing The Lanes we entered the breezy zone, and around 1130 am began sighting the very tall spouts of giant blue whales about 3 ½ miles north of the western face of Santa Cruz.  The first zone produced 2 closely watched giants and at least 1,000 more dolphins.  The second whale we watched had a scientific suction cup transmitter-type tag on its right flanks well posterior of the dorsal fin.  As reported earlier this week, researcher John Calambokidis from the Cascadia Research Collective was placing these tags on blue whales during the week.  There were at least a dozen more tall spouts within a few miles of each other in this area.  We stayed around and watched 5 more giants.  All the beasts were smashing against the waves and their spout spray was being blow far and wide.  Skies were blue, the water was blue and the spouts were very dramatic to watch.

On the way back to Santa Barbara Harbor, about 5 miles south of Platform “C,” a mega-pod of at least 1,000 additional dolphins and 2 more humpback whales was encountered and closely watched.  Twenty minutes later, all eyes were drawn to the west where a large humpback whale had started up a tail-throwing frenzy.  It was over a mile away as Captain Dave slowly moved to it, and the tail throws continued until we arrived on the scene, and circled around the area.  It was still carrying-on as it got smaller and smaller and went out of our view.  As previously mentioned, cetacean sightings were in the stratosphere.

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