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A clear day with a squall and a whale

Spectacular vistas unfolded before our eyes as we departed Santa Barbara Harbor at 12 noon. You could see from Boney Ridge (Malibu) to Santa Rosa Island. It was bright and sunny except for one thing.   While we were searching for big whales and playing with dolphins, a single black storm squall moved off the land and slowly came down the Santa Barbara Channel. The light breeze blew a few gentle rain drops our way and the storm cell, albeit small, moved just south of our position and was magnificent to see. (See photograph above)

As for wildlife, our first species sighted was a small pod of 20 or so Pacific white-sided dolphins heading east but they turned to greet us as we slowly moved west. There were a couple of small pods of long-beaked common dolphins. A lone Pacific harbor seal was sighted just off our bow and stayed up to look at us until the last moment. (A second harbor seal was seen on our way back to SEA Landing as it rested on the bait barge).

A sharp-eyed passenger pointed out a distant tail fluke which the crew agreed was probably a humpback #whale. We pursued but never saw more than its fluke prints on the surface. About that time we did encounter a large gray whale heading west (northbound). It had 5 minute down times but did spout quite a lot when it was up. We got good solid looks at this migrant.

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

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