Surface lunge-feeding

Bob Perrycommon dolphins, Condor Express, humpback whales, mako shark, Santa Barbara Channel, Santa Cruz Island

Surface lunge-feeding humpback whale courtesy of Christina Tombach Wright (2017)

2017 05-26 SB Channel

This is a summary of our sightings from Friday, May 26…sorry for the delay:   2 humpback whales, 1 mako shark, and 400 long-beaked common dolphins.  The day started out with some high stratus which burned off quickly and left us in bright sun most of the day.

Captain Dave and his crew took the Condor Express on a southwesterly track, passing through The Flats, The Lanes and then toured the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island.  In The Flats a large hotspot with active seabird feeding  and dolphins was located.  After some nice feeding dolphin observations a single, small humpback found the hotspot and engaged in a marathon surface lunge-feeding episode.  With wide open mouth and fully-inflated ventral grooves, the beast slaughtered the tight ball of northern anchovies gathered up by the seabirds and dolphins.  Passenger and our friend, Christina Tombach Wright, took a nice photograph of this feeding event and is shown above.

After over an hour of watching the hotspot action Dave got back on track for the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island.  Along the way a second humpback whale was briefly watched and another group of dolphins found the boat in The Lanes off the east end.   Dave did his famous island discourse and took the boat inside beautiful Potato Harbor.

On the way home a mako shark was observed finning, but did not hang around on the surface very long.  The vessel “San Salvador,” a galleon, was spotted along the coast and we took a spin around her to have a good look.


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