2021 08-20 SB Channel
A high stratus layer made for a gray sky over the very calm ocean surface. The sun broke out when we were coming home. Nonetheless, it was a great day for humpback whales (8 watched), and a record-breaking day for long-beaked common dolphins (8000 watched).
Captain Dave reported unusually large numbers of common dolphins in the Channel, starting only a few miles out from Santa Barbara Harbor, and continuing all day. In some spots they formed dense aggregations (pods?), which blended-in with those that were more widely dispersed (herd?). The record will show reports of trips with 4000 and 5000 common dolphins over the recent past, and today we watched significantly more animals. No one is able to perfectly count individual, highly mobile, diving, swimming, jumping dolphins. Not even Dave.
About 4 miles south of the airport we watched 4 whales. The first was a juvenile and it breached close to the boat. Then we found a pair of adults and one of those also breached. Finally, a fourth whale was located in this general area. The Condor Express was slowly moving west through the zone.
A trip offshore found the final 4 whales in our report today. We were 18 miles out and near The Lanes. There were 3 adults and 1 juvenile and all were (no surprise) mixed in with thousands of dolphins.