2020 07-02 SB Channel
Flat calm seas and sunny skies added to an “off the charts” day with 6 different cetacean species. Captain Dave and his team ran further west than usual (see course illustration) and sightings included: 1000 long-beaked common dolphins, 500 short-beaked common dolphins, 10 coastal bottlenose dolphins, 20 Risso’s dolphins, 6 humpback whales and 1 fin whale.
The cetacean extravaganza kicked-off almost immediately with a nice visit with 10 coastal bottlenose dolphins right off the harbor entrance. It’s always fun to see these medium sized animals so close to shore. Continuing on a course heading for the west end of Santa Cruz Island, the first large pod of long-beaked common dolphins found us about 3 miles out past the bottlenose. An even larger group was seen in The Lanes adjacent to the west end.
Moving west towards beautiful Santa Rosa Island (with San Miguel clearly in view), two humpback whales (one was binoculars only) and a pod of 20 Risso’s dolphins were watched. These are the first Risso’s we’ve seen in a few weeks and we loved observing these unusual white, globular-headed dolphins.
Further up the northern face of Santa Rosa a pair of additional humpbacks and then a solo beast was closely watched. But wait! There’s more! On the way home, and still south of The Lanes, we had a nice yet brief encounter with a huge fin whale. The last of our cetaceans was another pair of wonderful humpback whales near the East Channel NOAA Buoy.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and Condor ExpressPhotos.com