15 Solo Humpbacks, Dolphins, Red Crabs and the Cave

2015 08-07 SB Channel

The day started with the crew looking at a large oil sheen on the surface of the water inside Santa Barbara Harbor. I found some interesting patterns, but none of us could determine the source of this oil. Perhaps the tide washed in some of the natural seepage that travels by just outside the harbor entrance.

By 1045am we found ourselves about 12 miles from the Harbor in the middle of the Santa Barbara Channel. There were overcast skies from a moderate marine layer, but the heavy chop we had yesterday had died down to practically nothing. We started the day with no wind and it stayed that way until we were pulling back into the Harbor again at 230pm. The sun came out just after noon.

In this mid-Channel region Captain Dave had located numerous spouts which translated into 5 nice humpback whale sightings (with more spouts in the distance), accompanied by 650 long-beaked common dolphins. We followed these #whales and a little while later Dave had us looking at 5 more.   All of the whales were moving around quickly and separately, and showing moderate down times.   A few nice close passes by the Condor Express made it exceptional. By the way, that Santa Barbara cobalt clear water has gotten a bit green as of today.

Onward we trekked to the west end of Santa Cruz Island and admired the wonderful sea cliffs and numerous caves…the sun was out at this time and the views were breath-taking. The water temperature has dropped to 63F. You may recall in was in the 70’s earlier this week.   We paid a nice visit to the world-famous Painted Cave, as is our custom. All along the face of the island, up tight near the cliffs, hundreds of western gulls (young and old) were sitting on the water and hovering a few feet above it, then pecking at the surface and obtaining pelagic red crabs for dinner.   (See photo above)

On the way home Dave found an additional 5 humpback whales and 200 #dolphins, thus concluding a robust day of cetacean enjoyment.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express

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