Surface lunge-feeding humpback whales in the Santa Barbara Channel

It was a “NatGeo” kinda day!

2019 05-11 SB Channel

Two trips left the SEA Landing docks in Santa Barbara Harbor today, the first departed at 12 n, and the last at 3 p.  Skies were partly cloudy all day with a few random, light sprinkles.  Rain squalls were seen over the Santa Ynez range as well as out at the Channel Islands.  The ocean surface, however, remained very glassy and calm.  Sightings for the day included: 7 humpback whales, 200 long-beaked common dolphins and 80 California sea lions.

The noon trip found the first whale about 4 miles south of Hope Ranch.  After a few nice looks, all the attention went to a pair of whales which turned out to be a mother humpback with her not-so-little calf.  The calf was fairly active on the surface, did a lot of rolling, upside-down swimming, some pectoral slaps and a few very friendly approaches to the Condor Express.

At 3p Captain Dave headed directly south of the harbor and about 4 miles out he slowly approached a massive hot spot with thousands of sea birds, dozens of sea lions and 4 very active humpbacks actively feeding.  Two of the whales were another mom-calf pair.  All four whales were showing a lot of baleen as they lunge-fed on the surface for all to see.  All of the whales came very close to the boat at one point or another.  This visit ended as the calf got airborne and breached several times right next to us, sending spray everywhere and chills up many human spines.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com

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