Sometimes the mating and courtship can’t wait for the Baja lagoons.

Bob Perrywhale watching californiaLeave a Comment

Gray whale courtship action at nearby Santa Cruz Island.

2022 01-09 SB Channel

Sunny and warm weather, with glassy smooth seas, made the marine mammal experience even more enjoyable today. Sightings included 3 Pacific gray whales, 52 Risso’s dolphins, 25 offshore bottlenose dolphins and 100 California sea lions.

A spread-out mixed species group of Risso’s dolphins and offshore bottlenose dolphins was located just ¼ mile off the northern face of beautiful Santa Cruz Island’s west end. The mixture was fascinating to watch and enhanced further by the superior water clarity. A good number of sea lions were also seen in the area. Captain Devin slowly moved through the assemblage and headed west along the face of the island.

As the Condor Express left Santa Cruz behind and ventured south into the Santa Cruz Channel, a single breaching gray whale was seen in the distance. After moving to a safe distance, it turned out to be a pair of grays. Soon a third whale joined the pair and suddenly the actions and mood of the animals changed drastically.  What could be described as overt courtship behaviors were then watched closely for nearly an hour. The list includes: rolling around, spy-hopping, chin-lifting, upside-down swimming, whale-on-top-of-whale activity, and tail throws. On a few occasions, the trio formed a tight pack, side-by-side, and took of on a short high-speed run just under the ocean surface.  Again, the water clarity was our friend. Our deckhand, naturalist, drone-pilot and all-around nice guy, Adam, will post some visuals on our social media platforms for sure.

What a team!

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

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