Migrating Gray Whale and More

Bob Perrycommon dolphins, Condor Express, gray whale, humpback whales, Santa Barbara Channel

Southbound Migrating Gray Whale

2015 12-17 SB Channel

El capitán and el águila put their collective four sharp eyes together and found a southbound migrating gray whale, three humpback whales, and a load of dolphins in the Santa Barbara Channel. Here is how this epic adventure went down.

Not long after leaving Santa Barbara, Auggie (el águila) located a single, small southbound migrating gray whale out on the 50-fathom line. It ran a pretty darned straight line to the east, which is the way you must travel to go south if you are a marine animal. This enabled Captain Dave (el capitán) to put the Condor Express in a perfect position for great looks as this amazing animal headed home to its birthplace in Laguna San Ignacio, Laguna Ojo de la Liebre, or Bahía Magdalena, on the west coast of Baja California, Mexico.

About an hour later a small pod of 30 or so long-beaked common dolphins came over and played with the boat. There were numerous little calves in the pod. Soon thereafter a large adult humpback whale (the first of 3 sighted today) came up and spouted not too far away. It went on its deep dive and was never sighted again. Much better visual luck was in store for everyone when we repeatedly saw two giant splashes side-by-side in the distance. Upon arriving on the scene, we found two very young (perhaps yearling) humpback juveniles breaching, chin-slapping and pectoral fin-slapping together. After about a dozen or so of these demonstrations, the two traveled together for a short while then split up. Perhaps they were just a couple of youngsters that met in the Channel, had a little fun, then got back to the business of finding food, etc.

The last sighting was a larger herd of nearly 500 long-beaked common dolphins which stayed with us for at least a half-hour.Sea conditions were good. Skies were clear and sunny. There was only a very slight breeze, and some small swells from the west came through that did not amount to much.You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry
Condor Express

SCHEDULE NOTE:   This time of year we do not regularly run public whale watch trips on Monday and Tuesday. HOWEVER, between Christmas and New Year’s weekend we plan to run every day (depending on the weather). This means that Monday, December 28 and Tuesday, December 29 are now ON the schedule. Thank You.

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I hope to have today’s photographs online sometime Saturday or Sunday.