2020 10-24 SB Channel
Another mirror glass day with a high stratus layer gave a gray cast to the cetacean show. Captain Dave took the Condor Express across the Santa Barbara Channel heading towards the western end of Santa Cruz Island. We never moved further south than The Lanes. Total sightings included 15+ humpback whales, 12 coastal bottlenose dolphins and 3000 long-beaked common dolphins.
A nice pod of coastal bottlenose dolphins greeted the Condor as she left the mouth of the harbor. A few rode our bow and others swam by alongside to take a look at their fan club. This is a wonderful way to start any whale watch! Good looks were had by all.
Common dolphins started appearing about 6 miles out, and were very abundant all day thereafter. Aggregations of feeding cetaceans that included whales and dolphins were numerous and it was a fantastic day for dolphin lovers.
Our first whales were encountered west of the mid-Channel NOAA buoy, and we found additional pairs and small groups spaced at about 1 mile intervals as we moved southwest. Near The Lanes we were attracted to a trio by a few far breaches. On location these beasts were highly animated and social. Lots of pectoral fin slapping (see photo above), vocalizing and some lob-tailing was observed. At one point we experienced a double breach with one beast taking off about ¼ mile away at the same time a very close whale did the same.
A mile further to the south another trio of large adults was engaged in some fast chasing behavior that also included rolling around and slapping pectorals. One of the 3 was Black Rakes. On the trip home we passed by additional whales.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com