Carl Sandburg once wrote “THE fog comes on little cat feet,” but today it already came and put the Condor Express in near zero visibility for quite a while. With little chance of seeing anything that wasn’t perched on the bow of the boat, Captain Dave used his radar and what deckhand Eric called “the occult” to put us in the humpback whale feeding grounds again. How does he do this day after day? Simple, he was trained by Captain Mat !
While most of the 10 or so humpback whales were traveling around at pretty high speeds, they did stop from time to time and enjoy a spectacular dining experience. Spectacular for us humans to watch that is…surface lunge feeding occurred on widely dispersed patches of northern anchovies that had been all schooled up for a easy meal. There was evidence of cooperative feeding amongst the beasts, as multiple whales broke the surface in unison as they filled their massive gular pouches and stomachs, often very close to the Condor Express.
The common dolphins were scattered in small feeding pods throughout the Channel today, at least as far as we could tell after the fog burned off. So the whales were left to feed on the oceanic bounty without those pesky little cetaceans all around. Even the seabird abundance was far less on the feeding grounds…in other words, no big hot spots with feeding frenzies…but who cares? the sightings were off the charts.
Captain Dave is sad to report there were no ocean sunfish (Mola mola) observed today.
I probably won’t get these photos up until Sunday afternoon because I’m out early on tomorrow’s Cetacean Society trip.