2017 06-18 SB Channel
Happy Father’s Day.
Today we had close looks at 8 humpback whales, 400 long-beaked common dolphins, 10 blue whales and 6 mylar balloons.
2 ½ miles south of the red and white sea lion habitat (aka, Santa Barbara Harbor entrance buoy) we came upon a series of hot spots with common dolphins, California sea lions and lots of sea birds (including elegant terns, western gulls, Heermann’s gulls, brown pelicans and sooty shearwaters) all feeding on balls of northern anchovies at the surface. It was not long before the humpback whales were drawn to all this commotion and joined in the feeding. We saw several instances of surface lunge feeding by two of the 8 humpback whales in this area. It was getting close to Nat Geo.
NOTE: At 1110 am, 130 pm and 235 pm we stopped to pick up batches of floating, helium-depleted mylar death balls (balloons). Email me if you need more information.
After leaving the humpbacks we got back on our southeasterly track to Santa Cruz Island and the area in which we predicted the blue whales might have moved to overnight.
At 1215 pm Eric and Dave had located a region near the northeastern end of Santa Cruz Island with an abundance of giant blue whales. Most of the giants were spread out alone over the area, except we did have one pair that stayed together for the duration of the sighting. Several of the giants were very cooperative in showing their massive tail flukes. We spend nearly an hour and a half slowly and methodically moving whale to whale and still keeping a respectful (and lawful) distance. The situation was enhanced by near glass surface conditions and bright, warm sun. By now things were definitely Nat Geo.
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Image 3 of 3 in a row: a humpback whale feeds on a northern anchovy school through a vertical lunge. The gullar pouch and ventral blubber grooves are fully-extended with water and fish. Water is starting to pout out of the mouth through the baleen filter.