“Pec-slappin’” (pectoral flipper-slapping) humpback whale in the Santa Barbara Channel

Hotspot yields mega quantities of wildlife

2019 07-10 SB Channel

Captain Dave and the crew found dense fog for most of the morning. Luckily the sun broke through and it stayed nice starting around noon. Seas were calm and the wildlife was spectacular. Closely watched individuals included 11 humpback whales, 3000 long-beaked common dolphins, 300 California sea lions, and one ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

Dave took a course to the southeast until he ended up on the edge of The Lanes near Platform Habitat. We were first greeted by several pods of 100 or more dolphins. Between pods, we stopped to watch a nice ocean sunfish (Mola mola).  It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a Mola.

We moved to the west and rather quickly we came into an area with eight whales. There were six large adults, and two small juveniles. All of the whales were on a hotspot loaded up with dolphins, sea lions, and predatory sea birds, that were feeding on massive amounts of anchovies. One of the juveniles got frisky and started to roll around and slap his long pectoral fins. By the way, there were easily 1000 more dolphins in this hotspot area.

On the way home, we got quick looks at three more whales and hundreds more dolphins. It was one of those days that cetacean watchers dream of!

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry
Condor Express, and