Drop Dead Gorgeous & Full of Life
Wow! What conditions we had this morning as we left the dock at 8am heading for the northeast Channel. Clear blue skies, oily glass surface, zero wind and a perfect temperature…excellent conditions for spotting spouts. Not long after we cleared the offshore oil platform rig line the amount of life in the water began to explode. The ever hungry common dolphins were everywhere on the grounds today feeding on patches of northern anchovy schools. By the end of the trip we estimated at least 600 of these little cetaceans had come over to ride alongside the Condor Express.
Numerous Minke whales were also seen throughout the zone, and two or three of them came close enough for some great looks and wonderful photo opportunities. A conservative number might be six Minke whales, but there were plenty more all around that did not happen to be close to the boat. At one point there were bursts of anchovies leaping clear out of the water trying to escape a predator below. A single California sea lion seemed to be causing all the rucus. Later we had the good fortune of running along with a herd of these furry brown pinnipeds as they porpoised across the mirror surface.
Finally, we had excellent looks at three big beasts: humpback whales. First we saw a pair and followed them around at a respectful distance for an hour as they continually fluked up for us. One had a hooked dorsal fin and has a nickname of “can opener.” Later we ran further east and found another humpback whale and had more wonderful watching. There were three humpback whales in total by the end of the trip.
The bright, clear visual panorama with its soft air and teeming life was particularly inspirational today. I’ll post up the photos no later than Monday afternoon.
PS. Remember, no open public whale watching tomorrow, Sunday.