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Another Top Notch Trip + Dolphins

Velella velella, a jelly with a sail riding across the ocean surface using the wind.

Another Top Notch Trip + Dolphins

The little west swell from yesterday pretty much died down and the light morning breeze and stratus layer soon gave way to partly sunny skies and near flat glass conditions.  Most of the early portions of the trip was spent playing with the long beaked common dolphins which were in small pods and groups of less than a dozen all over the northeastern Santa Barbara Channel.   Again we saw an inordinate number of very very small calves with their mothers.  There was a lot of “upside down” socialization going on too.   Late into the morning the eagle eyes of Captain Dave spotted a spout in the distance and guess who?  that’s right, it was Top Notch the humpback whale.  Today it maintained a pattern of 4 – 5 minute down times during which it would swim more than a quarter mile away in a random direction.  Twice the #whale came directly towards the Condor Express and at the last possible moment kicked up its tail flukes and dove under the boat.  I happened to be on the lower deck railing shooting Velella velella during one of these close approach dives and it was a heart thumping experience.  There seemed to be more Velella velella today than over the past week, and hopefully one or two of the photos will be memorable.   I’ll post them all online sometime tomorrow.   We did also stop for a couple of Mola mola that were medium large.  In all it was a very beautiful late summer day for wildlife watching.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob PerryCondor Express

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