4 giant blues, a friendly fin, and a dolphin stampede PLUS a special bulletin
2020 11-28 SB Channel
Weather and sea conditions were perfect. The ocean was glassy and very clear. Skies were blue and sunny. Sightings were fantastic with 4 giant blue whales, 1 fin whale and 1500 long-beaked common dolphins.
The first cetacean encounter occurred in The Lanes with a tight group of at least 1000 dolphins located the Condor Express. Soon this condensed group took off on a mysterious high-speed stampeded, then settled down in a ½ mile single file line. There is so much left to learn.
Soon a giant blue entered the zone and it had wonderful long surface intervals which made for excellent viewing. A second, shy giant was nearby, but not as spectacular is the first (according to the crew).
A small, 30 foot long, fin whale approached the boat and made several friendly and leisurely swims alongside our hulls. The crystal clear Santa Barbara cobalt blue water greatly enhanced this special visit.
After we left the nice little fin whale we were within striking range for a trip inside the world famous Painted Cave of Santa Cruz Island and a nice tour of the northern sea cliffs too. Soon after we left The Cave a second pod of dolphins found us and led us along a line that ended with a wonderful pair of giant blue whales. These two also demonstrated long surface intervals and provided wonderful looks.
Sunday, tomorrow, will be our final public whale watching excursion for 2020. The Condor Express will be hauling-out of the water for routine maintenance AND the replacement of all 4 of its mighty engines. The old engines were the original power source for the Condor when it was launched in 2002 and have been subsequently overhauled to meet the improving air quality and emissions standards in the state of California. This engine replacement will not only put new power into the boat, but will move us decades ahead of the curve for air quality and fuel efficiency. The engine retro-fit process will also involve small hull modifications and numerous US Coast Guard inspections.
We are hoping to get back to whale watching in early February.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com