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Baby gray whale with mom travels along the Santa Barbara Coast with lots of dolphins in the area

Image: Gray whales near the beach in Santa Barbara

2024 04–10 SB Channel

A single 12 noon trip found gorgeous weather with blue skies and flat glassy seas along the Santa Barbara coast again today for perfect whale watching conditions. Totals for the trip included:  2 Gray whales, 20 coastal Bottlenose dolphins, and 1000 Long-beaked common dolphins.

Captain Dave and the crew headed up the coast along the beach and off of Hendry’s found two gray whales that turned out to be a mother with her little calf. There was a bit of rolling around in shallow water which made it interesting to watch. Things got even more interesting when a large pod of bottlenose dolphins came over to repeatedly inspect the Condor Express and interact with the gray whales.  In addition to rolling around, it turned out that the mother gray whale had uniquely light pectoral fins and tail flukes which made her very easy to watch as she swam underwater with her calf. 

After this wonderful encounter we moved east and near platform Charlie we were located by a mega pod of common dolphins.

As a side note, the coastal waters are now festooned with little purple jellies known as “purple sailors” or by their scientific name Velella velella. They seem to show up most every year at this time and are great to see floating along the mirror glass surface.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store,

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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