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Humpbacks along the Channel Islands Coast

Nature has given us such immense beauty to gaze upon.

Today’s images once again captured through the lens of Edward Howell.

How fortunate am I to have the opportunity not only to experience it first hand, but to relive it each and every night as I pour through his images.

It’s hard to describe, at times, the things we experience when out on the water surrounded by such beauty. Words escape me when we come upon a pair of whales like we did today.

We traversed the channel today upon what could only be described as a watery dessert.
How could such a vast area of life disappear in less than 24 hours?

Yesterday, the water mid-channel were ripe with feed and wildlife, yet today there was an obvious shift.
We continued to look for the signs that if we could find, would ultimately lead us to the wildlife in the region.

We crossed a water temperature break where the sea surface temperature spiked 2 degrees, and there it was. Schools of anchovy and hundreds of dolphin. Pelicans, deep diving cormorants, sheer waters all vying for a piece of the pie.

We began to look in earnest for what we knew had to be in the area due to the presence of all this feed, and just on our bow they surfaced.

An explosion of water, like Old Faithful just ahead.

It was the same mother calf pair we had encountered the day before just 4 miles off our coast.Now, the pair, had traversed the channel staying close to their source of feed. They were now just off the rugged North Shore of Anacapa Island. When we first arrived, mom and calf were engaged in playful behavior with a few kelp patties in the water.

After the calf rose a few times head first into the floating matt, mom surfaced just beneath letting the giant bladder kelp roll down her back. It was curious playful behavior. The pair once again had not problems with us hanging around, and in fact came up to us a few times and too a quick glance at those onboard.

After about 45 minutes, mom and calf headed to the east, and mom threw her weight around a few times is an impressive display of Peduncle Slapping.  The peduncle region on the body is that part that is just forward of the tail. We observe the animal at a slight down angle and then a powerful aggressive side “swish” occurs where the peduncle region displaces an enormous amount of water.

To us, it singles it’s time to provide some space. Mom and calf then settled back down and provided us with their own close encounter as we drifted along.

They were just an incredible pair.

We left them as they circled back to the North, and we headed for the Island.

As we toured the North Shore, sea lion colonies were observed and some of the most crystal clear water we have seen this year. Visibility was 30 plus feet enabling us to see the bottom in some of the shallow ref areas.

We hope our Humpbacks remain in the East Channel for the coming weeks.

We depart daily at 9 am Monday through Friday and twice daily on weekends, 9am and 2 pm.

You passage includes a light meal and tour through the most scenic National Park within our National Park system.

We look forward to seeing you onboard,
Capt. Frank

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