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A marvelous day with plenty of mammal sightings, and notes about the harbor gray whale

2022 03-22 SB Channel

Sea conditions were vastly improved over previous days this week…and they persisted for all 3 trips: 9a, 12n and 3p. Captain Dave took command of the 9 and noon adventures and Captain Devin mastered the helm on the afternoon trip. Sightings for the day included 3 gray whales (with multiple sightings of a local “star”), 2000 long-beaked common dolphins, 300 California sea lions and 2 coastal bottlenose dolphins.

The local “star” is the young adult, or perhaps 4th year juvenile, gray whale that has been watched by the Condor Express, the fishing boats, local yachts, kayaks and SUPs as the whale foraged bottom sediments in and around the mouth of Santa Barbara Harbor. Many are concerned about this stardom and the resulting close proximity of watercraft. It was impossible traverse the entrance to the harbor, as we did 6 times today, without very close looks at this animal. For the record keepers, we’ve only tallied 1 gray whale for the day here.

Later in the 9 am trip we ran up the coast and watched bottlenose dolphins, then, up near Platform Holly, we saw a large pod of common dolphins busy feeding on a surface bait ball alongside lots of California sea lions.

On the noon trip we found 2 additional whales about ½ mile offshore and followed this pair of adult whales up the coast with great looks had by all. The bottom feeding harbor whale had moved out and up the coast a few hundred yards.

On the afternoon trip, deckhand Kelly spotted a mega pod of common dolphins off Goleta Bay, we had a wonderful session with them. Finally, there were more common dolphins not far outside the harbor. In the harbor, we noted the return of the bottom feeding “resident.”

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

PS. The last time I saw a whale feeding in the harbor entrance was March 21, 2016. You can see my images here:

https://www.condorexpressphotos.com/2016/2016-03-21-SB-Channel

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