2017 09-19 SB Channel
Captain Dave ran the Condor Express under a high stratus layer and with relatively calm seas. Dave and the crew located over 2,000 long-beaked common dolphins and closely watched 5 humpback whales. These raw numbers do not tell the whole story of this wonderful excursion.
Common dolphins were around the boat all day. Many were actively feeding on northern anchovies. Most of the dolphins took a break from feeding when the Condor was in the neighborhood, and they rode our waves.
On the way across the Santa Barbara Channel, in the vicinity of the east (aka, mid-) channel NOAA buoy the dolphin populations were quite large and 4 of the 5 humpback whales we watched were in among these dolphins. This is where the excursion got very interesting. Two of the 4 whales were a mother and her calf. A recent scientific paper discusses the need for juvenile humpback whales to throw their tails, lob tail and to breach, which fosters the long-term production of oxygen-carrying myoglobin (in the muscle tissues). Today’s little calf did all of the above including many breaches in a row, fairly close to the boat. It was quite a robust show.
The next stop was a nice visit to the northwestern face of Santa Cruz Island and a trip inside the mouth of the world’s longest sea cave, the Painted Cave. Dave has a great monologue about the island which he delivers as we tour the area “up close and personal.”
On the way home the dolphin herds continued and one more humpback whale was also located.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express