A fine sunny day with only a light breeze made for wonderful whale and dolphin watching in the mid-Santa Barbara Channel region. A few miles offshore the first batch of long-beaked common dolphins found us and did some wake-riding, etc. There were a few calves in the pod, as usual. The pod was accompanied by a contingent of elegant terns and other sea birds hoping to benefit from the dolphin feeding.
The second sighting location was in The Lanes, about even with Frasier Point. Two humpback whales (out of the 4 total seen today) were found here along with another good ration of common dolphins. These humpbacks were good flukers and the dolphins occupied some time by riding along with the Condor Express.
Our next stop was the western end of Santa Cruz Island and a visit to the world-famous Painted Cave. Captain Dave gave a short rendering of the aboriginal population and culture, the modern geography, and the recent history of this part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Park. Dave’s Cave talk is not to be missed, just ask for “Dave in the Cave” when you come out. Just outside The Cave our third humpback whale (with dolphins, of course) was sighted, and the final humpback-dolphin assemblage was located and observed a few miles later on the homeward trek. The total dolphin estimate for today was around 800 individuals.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express
PS Steve is now home recuperating and thanks all for their kind thoughts.