Humpback whale breaching in the Santa Barbara Channel. ©Robert Perry

Looks were fantastic as humpbacks, Dall’s Porpoise and Common Dolphins were watched.

2018 12-09 SB Channel

Captain Tasha and her crew encountered flat seas, mostly sunny skies and great “4-island” visibility.  Sightings included 3+ humpback whales, 10 Dall’s porpoises and 750 long-beaked common dolphins.  The looks were fantastic.

On the way southbound towards Santa Cruz Island a single whale was located.  It was a bit shy and moving slowly east.  A group of wonderful, high-speed porpoises visited the Condor Express and rode our bow (several times!).  Soon a second whale came into the area and it, too, was moving slowly east before it erupted.  This whale appeared to be a juvenile and all of a sudden it took to the air and breached ten times, slapped its long pectoral fins and did some rolling around near the boat. [We are reminded that recent research suggest that levels of exercise may influence the rate of development of myoglobin stores in young mysticetes (Tracking the Development of Muscular Myoglobin Stores in Mysticete Calves, Cartwright, R et al, 2016, PLOS One) ]  Myoglobin provides oxygen to muscles during prolonged dives, and this is just one of many reasons scientists have found as to why whales breach.

Tasha continued on course towards the island and watched an additional “moving east” whale, and had a visit by a large pod of dolphins that were very active and friendly.

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