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2 species of whales, 2 species of dolphins, and a SWORDFISH

Image: A Pacific Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) seen in crystal clear water right next to the Condor Express. Photo by Diane Alps.

2023 08-19 SB Channel

The fog dissipated by 1130am as we moved southwest on mirror glass seas. The water was a crystal clear “Santa Barbara cobalt” color. Sightings were phenomenal: 100 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 2000 long-beaked common dolphins, 1 Minke whale, 3 humpback whales and 1 Pacific Swordfish.

We were still moving slowly through the early morning fog as we were located by a large pod of offshore bottlenose dolphins about 6 miles south of Goleta. They were particularly acrobatic today, especially when we accelerated and generated a bit larger wake wave. This motivated some of them to get very aerial…some getting as high as 20 feet in the air. What a great way to kick off an epic day. In the same general area, we watched a single nearby Minke whale through a couple of breathing cycles.

Near the NOAA East Channel Buoy, we found a megapod of common dolphins spread out over a wide swath of ocean. This, in turn, got is lined up on what turned out to be 3 humpback whales. There were two nearby and they started out solo before joining forces for a while. One was a smaller 3-year-old named Satchmo, who we saw a few weeks ago. Besides being somewhat friendly today, it got its name from the fact that it frequently uses trumpet vocalization…which it did a bit today. The second whale was a very large adult, probably female. She breached at least 8 times, and between breaches did some chin-slapping, rolling around, and upside-down pectoral fin slapping.

Our next stop was Santa Cruz Island and a tour of its beautiful northwestern shore. This included a trip inside the first chamber of the world-famous Painted Cave, probably the longest sea cave known to exist.

The real fun began just after we exited The Cave and started heading back to the harbor. In the bright sun, with a mirror glass surface and superior water clarity, we came upon a Pacific Swordfish resting on the surface. It was a bold animal and did not appear to be bothered by the presence of the Condor Express with a full load of nature lovers. OMG.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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Aug 20, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

The swordfish didn’t seA you coming

that’s why they appear fearless but in reality they are looking for their two predators makos and great whites both of which stole from behind out of reach of a sword capable of cutting fish in half.

sadly it’s also what made them east to harpoon off Nantucket as long as you kept the bow directly on its bill.

I am thrilled to see that fish back here!!!

thanks !!!

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