Requiem for about a million northern anchovies.

Bob Perrywhale watching californiaLeave a Comment

Thousands of northern anchovies flee the giant jaws of a hungry humpback whale that is vertically lunge-feeding in the Santa Barbara Channel. (Thousands more didn't escape).

2021 05-02 SB Channel

Another gorgeous sunny day in the Channel but with a little residual bump that laid down by the time the 12n trip left the harbor. Two trips resulted in the following closely watched marine mammal list: 19+ humpback whales and 500 California sea lions. We searched the coast but no gray whales were seen as we were probably in a “gap” between the migrating pairs and groups.

The seemingly endless supply of northern anchovy surface bait balls has continued to lure large numbers of humpback whales and their furry brown friends (California sea lions). Feathered friends (seabirds) were also on the scene. It was a magical NatGeo kind of day (unless you were an anchovy).

The morning trip watched 4 whales and had plenty of sea lions and birds. All 4 were adults and several instances of surface lunge feeding took place and a few of these lunges were right alongside the Condor Express.

Noon hit the jackpot and watched an additional 15 whales with plenty of other spouts in the area.  Lunge feeding, vertical lunge feeding and sideways lunging was rampant. Fish were jumping everywhere and the sound was similar to an intense rain squall on the water. One group had 2 mother-calf pairs, another had 3 juveniles together. One of the 3 breached a few times and threw its tail and made a fuss. The last group had at least 10 more whales and the birds and sea lions were gorging themselves alongside the big beasts.

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

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