2016 06-02 SB Channel
Although the June stratus was thicker and the breeze a bit stronger, there were even more beasts devouring krill on the surface today all along The Ledge. There were at least a dozen blue whales and another dozen humpback whales surface lunge-feeding all over the zone. It was NatGeo all day long.
The first mammals sighted were about 100 long-beaked common dolphins which we found not too far offshore from Shoreline Park on our way back out to The Ledge. There was a lot of upside-down action. An hour later Auggie spotted multiple spouts ahead and before long Capt Dave had the Condor Express within visual range of the action. In addition to seeing so many blue whales, AND seeing all the surface feeding, two highlights stand out. First, a blue whale surfaced very close to the boat and looked at its fans on board, and second, a vegetarian salad-shredder humpback got after one of the many piles of detached, floating giant kelp paddies.
After becoming completely mesmerized by huge cetaceans gobbling millions of tiny red crustaceans, Dave took us on a tour of the west end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island. On the way over we passed through a large patch of very tiny juvenile Velella. But the visit inside the world-famous Painted Cave revealed another very abundant species of red crustacean: pelagic red crabs, all swimming happily in the turquoise cave waters.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express
For my collection of pelagic red crab photos see: https://www.marinebiophotography.com/Crustaceans/Pleuroncodes-planipes-1/