A surface lunge-feeding humpback whale in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Surface lunge-feeding whales!

2018 12-15 SB Channel

The surface was very calm and skies were sunny.  A long-period ground swell was beginning to slowly fill in from the northwest, but out on the Channel it rolled gently by without much of a fuss. North of us, CentralCal is forecast to receive waves as tall as 60 feet on Monday, and the big wave contest at Mavericks, north of Monterey Bay, is scheduled to take place as the ground swell builds. The Channel is protected from such monster waves by the 4 islands that parallel the shore. Today’s sightings included two humpback whales and 1000 long-beaked common dolphins.  The highlight was the repeated surface lunge-feeding going on by the humpbacks.

 Captain Dave and the crew of the Condor Express ran west out of Santa Barbara Harbor and encountered tons of wildlife southwest of Platform Holly.  All the dolphins and whales,along with California sea lions and various hungry sea birds, were closely watched as they fed upon schools of northern anchovies that, today, had come to the surface.

 times.  Thousands of anchovies bubbled up from beneath the surface as a pressure wave from an oncoming, open-mouthed whale sent them flying out of the water in a futile attempt to escape their fate.

It was a NatGeo kind of day.

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

Comments 1

  1. I’ve been reading the Captain’s Blog for years and it seems whale siting patterns have changed. We used to see humpbacks mainly during the summer and never in the fall. Looks like anchovies have changed their seasonal patterns (climate change?). You might overlap the humpbacks and greys more and more.

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