Loads of active humpback calves in the island “nursery grounds.”

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A humpback whale breaches near beautiful Santa Cruz Island.

2021 06-02 SB Channel

Seas were mill pond mirror glassy all day under a thin, high gray stratus layer. No wind. No swell. Sightings were consequently enhanced by these exceptional conditions, and we closely watched: 12 humpback whales, 24 long-beaked common dolphins and 100 California sea lions.

Approximately 5 miles southwest of the harbor a small group of common dolphins located the boat and some surfed our bow, side and stern waves. Soon a large adult whale popped up and we had good looks as it had short down and short surface times.

Further southwest and north of the West End of Santa Cruz Island we got into the same humpback mother-calf “hotspot” we’ve been discussing for the past week. Captain Dave now calls it the “nursery grounds,” and we found four more whales (two pairs of mom’s and calves). One of the little calves laid out a huge breach for all to see.

Again near the West End 3 additional whales were observed. One large adult did a series of powerful tail throws, and soon thereafter one of the calves mentioned in the previous paragraph swam over and threw its tail, too.

Moving northwest a short distance within the “nursery grounds” 2 more mom-calf pairs were watched, and one was our pal Scarlet with her very youngster.

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

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