2015 12-05 SB Channel
A Killer Day
It was a nice wintry day in our swath of the Santa Barbara Channel. A warm but filtered sun shone through the high cloud layer. There was only a slight breeze. The water was clear and the topside visibility was good but a slight tad hazy. After an inspection of the most recent humpback whale zones, and finding none, we headed for the Santa Cruz Channel where early gray whales often pass on their way south.
Before we could reach the Channel between Santa Cruz Island and Santa Rosa Island and look for grays, we received good intel from one of our friends in the fleet that there were special whales just outside Chinese Harbor, Santa Cruz Island. Sure enough, when we arrived at the coordinates, a great day on the water soon became a killer day.
We closely watched a pod of seven Biggs killer whales which included 2 large males, 4 females of various sizes and 1 frisky juvenile. Also in the mix were 2 young California sea lions that seemed to be interested in the Orca pod and was following them around. Only the juvenile killer showed any interest in the sea lion, and none of what we could see from our vantage point above the water line appeared to be aggressive. As Captain Dave said, perhaps these sea lions did not “get the memo” about Orcas.
The killer whales came together and spread apart from time to time. Their path was a slow drift to the west northwest. The females and the juvenile rolled around, did some kelping, approached and swam under the boat a few times, and gave the impression they were playing. The two males swam together isolated from the rest of the pod most of the time, but not always.
After almost a hour of great looks at these killer whales, it was time for us to say goodbye and head towards Santa Barbara Harbor. The crossing was uneventful, but when we were about two-thirds of the way home we found a cow-calf humpback whale pair because the little calf threw its tail a couple of dozen times. I’ll send another message out after our friend Alisa Schulman-Janiger identifies this pod for us tomorrow morning. Thanks, in advance, Alisa.
My advice to all: get out there and see all the magnificent marine mammals now while our great weather holds !
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express
Photos should be up on my photo site sometime later tomorrow.