top of page

A trip to Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands finds a pair of gray whales and a big pod of offshore bottlenose dolphins.

Image: Two gray whales near the west end of Santa Cruz Island


2024 01-06 SB Channel


It was cloudy and the sea was bumpy from storms to the northwest. Little to no wind blew across the bump. Captain Dave and the crew ran across The Channel and visited both Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Island, sharing the winter beauty of the two largest California islands with our guests. Sightings included: 3 coastal bottlenose dolphins, 75 offshore bottlenose dolphins and 2 gray whales.


The first (pair) of bottlenose dolphins were of the coastal variety and, as their name implies, were found quite close to the entrance to Santa Barbra Harbor. It was a fast sighting as the two were heading southeast and we were heading southwest.  The second group was much larger, as is typical of the offshore variety. The individuals in the pod tend to be larger, and, as we witnessed today, are both aerial and friendly. Numerous calves were seen in the pod as we passed the West End of Santa Cruz Island.


The crew ran across the Santa Cruz Channel trying to intercept southbound migrating gray whales. We got as far as Carrington Point on Santa Rosa Island, which was awash with huge waves, before heading back to Santa Cruz.  Of the West End we began to follow a pair of gray whales (see today’s photo for an example). The pair made “the choice,” not to pass south through Santa Cruz Channel, but to move southeast along the northern face of the island. We had good looks before it was time to head for home.


Bob PerryCondor Express, and

147 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page