2016 04-07 SB Channel
The Vikings marched through the parking lot and took over the boat a little after 9 am. It was a long voyage for these particular Vikings who came, not from Minnesota, but from Santa Monica. The group was rewarded for their efforts by a magical encounter with two Minke whales that traveled all around the Condor Express together for over 40 minutes. This behavior included several passes very close to the boat. They were by far the 2 most friendly Minke whales I've seen in years. A small group of around 20 long-beaked common dolphins also joined the fun.
The noon trip was open to the public and we ran back east southeast (EXSE) so by 1245 pm we located a pair of humpback whales east of Hogan. These two were heading west behind the rig line, and had 5 - 8 minute down times. A single Minke whale patrolled the area. We saw a collection of tall spouts further east of our location and upon arrival we were able to closely watch 4 humpback whale, and there were probably more in the vicinity. The 4 humpback whales were working an area that was over-run by a nice group of 500 or so short-beaked common dolphins, and there were lots of tail flukes photo ops to be had by all. Many of the dolphins, particularly along the leading edge, were high flyers, tail-walkers, and a bunch of others were tail slapping and causing a big commotion. Just outside the harbor entrance on the way home we spotted two small groups of Pacific white-sided dolphins, totaling about 10 animals.
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Close up of a Minke whale dorsal fin. Seems to me these dorsal fins vary between individuals and they have helped us deterimine what we are seeing on a particular trip.
Looking from tail towards the head as a humpback whale looks like it is "being chased" by a common dolphin. Tricks of the photograph's angle.