12 humpback whales and 1,500 long-beaked common dolphins
2017 06-25 SB Channel
More than a moderate breeze, choppy waters and dense fog greeted the Condor Express in the Santa Barbara Channel. Conditions were doable near the shore, but much worse offshore. Sightings today came from within 7 miles of land and included 12 humpback whales and 1,500 long-beaked common dolphins. Captain Eric told me both species were very abundant and many more animals were all around the area.
The first group of dolphins was located feeding not far past the outer harbor entrance buoy and sea lion resting place. We watched these agile cetaceans hunt anchovies upside down. Sea birds and a few California sea lions were also there. A lot of luck was involved in this sighting due to the poor visibility from the fog layer.
Moving west, taking things slow and easy, we searched the coordinates where a few humpback whales were seen yesterday afternoon. Again the fog was a problem, but soon it lifted just enough to see spouts. This is an area 7 miles south of Hope Ranch and it was full of dolphins and whales feeding on the surface. The northern anchovies upon which these whales and dolphins feed had condensed into a massive ball. Several instances of humpback whale vertical surface lunge feeding were observed. A few times a half dozen or more humpbacks came together underwater then lunged up out of the water in one perfectly choreographed thrust. It’s a miracle any anchovies at all are left alive.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express