A giant kelp stipe full of fronds is shown across the back of a humpback whale two days ago in the Santa Barbara Channel. Cetaceans in our area seem to love giant kelp!

Kelping humpbacks and hundreds of dolphins.

2019 08-17 SB Channel

A morning stratus layer was quickly replaced by blue and sunny skies as we approached the hot spot.  Seas were calm all day. We had great looks at 3 humpback whales and at least 1500 long-beaked common dolphins.

Hundreds of dolphins were around all day and everywhere we went.  Of course they came to the Condor Express to surf our waves, and were around the hot spot where the whales were feeding.  Our first dolphin encounter was only 5 miles south of the harbor. This has been an amazing summer for common dolphin lovers (like me!).

Continuing on our southerly course heading towards the far western end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island, we located our whale/dolphin hot spot after passing through The Lanes.  There were 3 individual, juvenile humpbacks at first. Soon two of them joined up for a while, only to go their separate ways after ½ hour or so.  The first whale was kind of friendly and soon got interested in a patch of detached, drifting giant kelp and a behavior we know and love called “kelping” ensued.  The beast draped itself in the algae, rolled around and slapped its long pectoral fins sending salad shards asunder.  After being joined by the second whale, they both rolled and vocalized considerably.  This included the common trumpet blow, as well as a less frequent staccato chatter blow.

On the way back to the harbor the dolphin-watching continued in the bright warm sun.

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

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