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A GRAY whale for August, humpbacks, dolphins and more

2015 08-04 SB Channel

A moderate chop from the southwest rolled through the Santa Barbara Channel today from winds up past Conception. It was bright and sunny. There was no wind until a bit before noon. Inside the water was a bit green and murky, but out on the #whale grounds it was Santa Barbara cobalt. Captain Dave was in command as we left Santa Barbara Harbor around 1010 am.

Our first stop (1025 am) was on a pod of 20 or so long-beaked common dolphins. The water was very clear and the surface was calm enough to see a lot of dolphin hanky-panky going on. Without getting too graphic, there was a lot of “normal” mating as well as several instances of two or more males upside down trying to engage with one female.

Ten minutes later we found another pod of 25 or so #dolphins working on a medium sized ball of northern anchovies. Dave was able to maneuver the Condor Express right over the anchovy school and we all had great looks as the fish tried to hide under the boat.

Around 1115 am it was shaping up to be a great day for dolphins as we came into a larger pod of 50, and it was primarily a nursery pod. Several calves were smaller than a Tom Brady football.   I had to say that as Dave is a huge Pat’s fan.

Soon (1140am) we found ourselves just a few miles north of the Lanes where deckhand Tasha had located the first of four humpback whales. By now the winds were rising and watching the humpbacks push through the on-coming swells head first, and seeing their spouts fly down wind, was a great sight. It was fresh but not cold. Another 500 dolphins were in the same area.

Dave left the 4 humpbacks and headed east to the southern edge of the Flats hoping for even more life.   Despite the great visibility above the water as well as below, nary a spout could be found to add to our excursion. At 125 pm Dave slowed down and spoke about Platform Houchin.

Loyal readers will recognize that our other deckhand August, we call him Augie among other things, has equally good eyesight to Tasha. But today he really out did himself. It was his day off and he was at the beach with friends when he called Captain Dave on his cell phone to report a gray whale near the kelp just past Leadbetter Beach (west of the Harbor). I love the symmetry of this. The grays passed us back in April, and her we have an off-duty August reporting a gray whale in August !   Needless to say this guy deserves a medal.   We all had splendid looks at a very small juvenile gray whale in the kelp and near the shore up near Hope Ranch where it had gone during the time it took for us to get there.

Wow! A gray whale in August. You can see its picture above.

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

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