2015 06-16 SB Channel
Captain Dave and the crew of the Condor Express ran another excellent cetacean adventure in the Santa Barbara Channel today. The harbor entrance buoy, which is typically inhabited by a half-dozen or so female and juvenile California sea lions, had a not fully grown male taking up at least half the buoy. This is mating and pupping season, the males that are not fully grown cannot hold a beach of their own, flee the rookeries on San Miguel and San Nicolas islands. Fun to see.
Around 1050 am we came into a multitude of long-beaked common dolphins and humpback whales which were spread over wide area which generally followed the 50-fathom curve of the bottom topography. We watched 15 humpbacks including one very large mother with her calf. There were one or two instances of surface lunge feeding away from the boat, but lots and lots of beautiful tail flukes were to be seen all around us. Many more spouts were also seen in the distance but we did not go running hither and yon. Easily 2000 long-beaked common dolphins were also feeding here. The anchovy schools were deep and other than the instances of surface feeding described above, nothing else was consumed at the surface. This probably helped explain the paucity of seabirds.
Off we went for a nice cruise along the northern sea cliffs, caves and grottos of Santa Cruz Island. It was sunny and calm near the mainland and #whales, but sunny and windy at the island. After the island tour we headed north to see what else we could find.
Just about mid-Channel we came across another hot spot. We found this one by following a high speed line of #dolphins that led us to the action. Another 16 humpback whales and 1000 long-beaked common dolphins were active in this region. As before, not so many birds were feeding and certainly no pelicans, terns or other crash-diving, surface feeding ones.
This was probably some kind of record-breaking day for humpback whales.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express