Humpback Whales Make Early Appearance in Santa Barbara Channel

It looks like another early season for humpback whales in the Santa Barbara Channel. Cherryl Connally of Island Packers is reporting a number of sightings throughout the weekend from their Ventura-based whale watching operation. Since Thursday, there have been at least 10 humpbacks seen each day.

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"This is the first sighting of a pattern of the humpbacks for this year," Connally explained via e-mail. "They usually arrive in the summer but the last couple years they have been arriving in March. This year even earlier!"

A herd of humpback whales winters off southern Mexico before heading back up north. They tend to feed near the California coast during the summer.

The above footage is from last week. Hundreds of common dolphins, one gray whale and six orcas have also been spotted from Island Packers boats in the last few days, said Connally.

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About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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