Fantastic! Mid-December and the blue whales are still in the Santa Barbara Channel. Wow!
December 10, 2014 – A blue whale and 4+ humpbacks, etc.
That’s right. It’s December 10th and we still have blue whales feeding on the “ledge.” And the humpback whale show continues to amaze everyone. Who would have predicted this? Our first cetacean encounter of the trip was a megapod of at least 1,000 short beaked common dolphins. Their behaviors included very little bow or wake riding, but instead the bounded over the oncoming seas and many many of them got airborne and even did a bit of tail-walking. It was an amazing sight and Captain Dave kept us with the #dolphins for quite a while. Next up on the program we watched 3 very animated and friendly humpback whales. When we first approached the area one #whale was on its side and seemed to be snuggling up to a second whale. The 3 whales repeated a behavior cycle several times that included the following: the 3 whales turned from their apparent course and headed straight for the Condor Express; the passed along the port side or swam directly under the boat (one with all white pectoral fins made this especially nice to view); then the whales would head off again; repeat cycle.
Next we took a splendid tour of the West End of Santa Cruz Island with the long period rolling swells washing up the sea cliffs, then forming rivers, large and small, as the seawater rushed back out. Very dramatic ! A great tour. On the way home, not far off the Island, 2nd Captain Eric found us a blue whale and we had some exceptional looks at this beast through a couple of breathing cycles. There were more humpbacks in this area too. We watched one, but several more spouts were seen in the vicinity. I thought I saw a second tall blue whale spout in the distance too, but we had no time to confirm this.
The day was partly sunny and partly cloudy as the leading edge of a major incoming Pacific storm begins to show signs of coming our way. Seas were calm with a very very light chop in some spots. There was a large, building, long-period west swell all day and this was particularly nice when the whales and dolphins were busting through the oncoming seas.
I’ll post up the photos from today’s adventure some time tomorrow.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.