2015 08-11 SB Channel
Around 1035 am cries went up around the boat, "Minke, MInke !' And sure enough there was a large one right off the bow and it gave us three nice breaths close to the boat before disappearing into the depths never to be seen again by us.
It was at 1104 am that things started to heat up. First there were 4 friendly long-beaked common dolphins, and soon that became 1,500. Various hot spots developed then disintegrated as the seabirds, #dolphins and 4 large humpback whales followed the action. One #whale did some surface "chomps," a feeding behavior we started seeing earlier this year. There were several very close and friendly approaches to the Condor Express as well.
Near 1208 pm 3 more humpback whales were located along the course we had laid for the west end of Santa Cruz Island. A great narration regarding the island and its history was rendered by Captain Dave, who also put us into the mouth of the world-famous Painted Cave. After the Cave visit we turned north and slowly started back towards Santa Barbara.
North of the Lanes, around 110 pm, we found 2 more humpbacks and another 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins. A few minutes and a mile or so later we came across a super mega-pod of at least 1,500 short-beaked common dolphins which are not as common in our end of the Santa Barbara Channel, but always a treat. Not long after these short-beaked moved out to the west, another 4 humpbacks popped up around us. One ran alongside the boat and was wearing a suction cup telemetry tag that was put on yesterday by researcher John Calambokidis (Cascadia Research Collective) and his team of scientists that are currently studying whales in the Channel.
What a fantastic day!
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Scientific research tag. I believe the story here was that scientist John Calambokidis and his team were in the region tagging blue whales. On the first day they needed to test their methods and telemetry, so they found the most convenient subject...this humpback...and put a suction cup tag on it. Later we spotted it and I took this photograph (already sent to John).