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11 Gray whales, lots of dolphins and 1 Aircraft carrier.

2022 01-23 SB Channel

Captain Devin and the crew of the Condor Express encountered stunningly beautiful, warm and sunny winter conditions in the Santa Barbara Channel today. Seas were very calm and flat. Sightings were phenomenal: 11 Pacific gray whales, 25 offshore bottlenose dolphins and 10 Risso’s dolphins. Again, one deflated, helium balloon was retrieved from the ocean surface to protect marine life.

The outbound trip afforded time for enjoying the wonderful vistas of the Santa Barbara coastline and Santa Cruz Island. Devin took the Condor Express across to the western end of Santa Cruz where about 25 active offshore bottlenose dolphins located us. Devin learned a nice trick from his mentor, Captain Dave. When conditions are ideal and the dolphins have voluntarily come close, he puts the boat into a circular path and slowly increases the speed to create a special wake that allows the dolphins to really show off their surfing skills. There were lots of airborne activities as well.

As we pushed further west and entered the Santa Cruz Channel, about 8 Risso’s dolphins were observed. About that time a tightly packed pod of 8 Pacific gray whales were seen about ½ mile ahead. Seen at this distance there was a lot of rolling around, breaching, tail-slapping, and so forth. The group separated into a single, a trio and a quartet. We watched the quartet and had even more breaching.

On the way home we saw a huge, veteran aircraft carrier, the USS Kittyhawk, being towed towards the port of Los Angeles. It was an awesome sight.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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