We ran a private whale watch charter for cruise ship passengers today with nice sea conditions. Captain Dave reported some light residual bumps on the surface today, but completely smoothing out as the Condor Express approached Santa Cruz Island mid-way through the trip. Totals for today included 3 blue whales, 500 long-beaked common dolphins and a large mob of at least 300 California sea lions.
The dolphins came to the boat when we were only 5 miles out from Santa Barbara harbor. It was a spectacular sight to behold and, per usual, the little cetaceans rode bow, side and stern wake, seeming to “beg” us to go faster.
Near The Lanes, we first encountered a large blue whale with short, 7-minute down times, and of all the whales seen today this one came pretty close to the boat. Soon a second, more massive, blue whale came into the zone. This second whale had longer, 12-minute, down times, and showed its tail flukes regularly.
The next stop on the excursion took our cruise ship patrons inside the world-famous Painted Cave and along the sea cliffs of beautiful Santa Cruz Island. Many of you regular readers of my reports already know that Captain Dave puts together quite a nice, organized and factual discourse on the subject of this special “Island of the Sacred Cross.”
Outside The Cave, a greeting mob of at least 300 California sea lions was found. They were up together, roiling the water into a foamy mass, then down they all went and the surface would become calm. This sequence was repeated many times. The barking and calling of these marine mammals is full of energy.
The trip home was interrupted first by an encounter with a third blue whale, and finally by the Condor crew who stopped twice to remove mylar balloons which had blown out to the ocean and represent a substantial nuisance for marine life.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express