It was a special Fall day in the Santa Barbara Channel. Winds were zero to negligible, the sun was shining and it was warm. The sea surface was glassy and calm. Marine mammals were abundant and active. Sightings included at least 800 long-beaked common dolphins, 3 humpback whales, and a mega-mob of more than 200 California sea lions.
Captain Dave took the Condor Express for a straight run directly to the western end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island for his legendary introduction. This part of the voyage included an entry into the mouth of the world-famous longest sea cave in the world, the Painted Cave.
On the way out of the Cave the boat headed west and almost immediately was greeted by a small but friendly pod of dolphins. Dave kept moving west across the Santa Cruz Channel to Santa Rosa Island. Near the eastern end of Santa Rosa the first humpack whale was encountered. It was “in a trance” slapping its long pectoral fins and rolling around in a detached, drifting giant kelp paddy. After a long look at this first humpback, a second one joined in the fun. Soon the two beasts were flinging the poor, defenseless kelp everywhere. What a scene !
On the way home from the two largest islands in southern California, a large herd of at least 400 dolphins came to the boat, rode the bow, surfed our wake and kept all their fans watching. Continuing towards Santa Barbara and about 8 miles off the beach, another herd of 400 or so dolphins was encountered along with a third humpback whale.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express