The eastern portion of the Santa Barbara Channel has enjoyed some fabulous whale watching this year.
We had a grand parade of Grays during the late fall, winter and early spring and now we have Humpbacks and Fin Whales.
We had anchored for lunch at Fagans Lunch yesterday, when we spotted three spouts about a mile south of Anacapa Island. We finished hurriedly and got our anchor up and headed SSE. On the way to the rendezvous, we were rewarded with a number of flukes, though no breaches.
We remained outside 100 yards, killed the engine and sailed parallel to the animal to the south. We think it was our old friend Stubby, who we haven’t seen since the fall of ’08. We’re not 100% it was Stubby and we argued back and forth as to whether this was a Fin Whale or a Humpback. The picture, BTW, is the best one from ’08. Yesterdays pics were taken with a fairly wide angle lens and don’t show much.
We’re 99% sure this was a Fin Whale as it didn’t show much of its body as it swam, nor did it ever show its fluke. We didn’t get close enough to examine its jaw for the two tone coloration that distinguishes this whale. But the fin, that seemed like a giveaway.
A word about Sail Channel Islands whale watching: While we thoroughly enjoy sailing in company with whales, we don’t make it a practice to go after them. Whale watching with us is a passive pursuit, i.e. the whales usually come to us and keep a curious eye on us.