Two large adult humpback whales swam together for a while today. One was slightly smaller and more active...it liked to roll around and swim on its side or upside-down.

Gloriously glassy smooth surface with thousands of dolphins and humpbacks too.

2019 08-15 SB Channel

Skies were covered by a marine stratus layer until we found some sun out near the world-famous Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island. Seas were calm and, in spots, very glassy.  Sightings for the trip included 3 live humpback whales, 3000 long-beaked common dolphins and, 1 deceased humpback whale calf.

We followed a pair of adult whales around for about 1 hour and had amazing looks.  One was slightly smaller than the other, and this individual rolled on its side quite a few times, and even swam upside down.  Was it a male trying to get the larger female interested?  Towards the end of the sighting the pair came upon an active hot spot with plenty of birds and dolphins.  There were a few instances of lunge-feeding.  About this time a third whale, a juvenile, came into the zone and we observed it closely.

As has been the case for the past few weeks, dolphins were everywhere.  Some pods were near 1000 strong, others much smaller.  The first pod contained around 500 animals and was a nursery pod.  Calves young and old were in the mix.

After we left the Cave and started on a course back to the harbor, Captain Dave got a call to investigate a dead whale reported nearby.  It appeared to be the little calf that we saw with its possibly grieving mother yesterday.  It was now belly-up and about 5 miles southeast of yesterday’s encounter. Mom was nowhere to be seen.

The rest of the trip home was smooth and full of live dolphin encounters.

Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com