Sooooo many humpback whales!

Bob Perrywhale watching california

A humpback whale at Santa Cruz Island.

2021 05-27 SB Channel

A thin high stratus layer broke to bright sun by the time the Condor Express reached the beautiful west end of Santa Cruz Island. Seas were calm and conditions played a major role in providing an epic humpback whale day. We closely watched 19+ humpback whales and 200 California sea lions. It doesn’t get much better than this!

All of the action was off the previously mentioned west end of Santa Cruz Island, and about 1½ miles north of the island sea cliffs and caves. Here we found a massive concentration of separate, large anchovy bait balls that were just beneath the surface. These dense fish masses resulted in a feeding frenzy hot spot with all manner of hungry sea birds, sea lions and, as you know, humpback whales.

19 whales were closely watched and many more spouts, and groups of spouts were seen far to the west stretching towards Santa Rosa Island. Among our special whales today was our friend Scarlet. We can now safely announce that Scarlet has a calf with her, and this calf was both friendly to the boat and actively rolling around in the water. There were 4 mother-calf pairs altogether, and several were also friendly and active. Coincidentally, the mom-calf pairs came together as a “maternity” group a few times as we were on site to watch for a prolonged period of time.

Another calf, and its mom, first mentioned in my May 22 report a few days ago, was in the mix. This is the calf that appears care free and healthy but is missing a lot of its tail flukes and the remaining tail, as well as its long pectoral flippers, are festooned with killer whale rakes (tooth marks). It was great to see this albeit battle-scarred juvenile acting so “happy.”

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