We ran a single 2½ hour expedition today and found an amazing abundance of cetaceans and behaviors to observe. The weather ranged from zero wind and glassy surface waters to a very light breeze with rippled surface. Captain Dave took the Condor Express west from Santa Barbara Harbor.
Our first cetacean of the day was a single juvenile gray whale which we found about ¼ mile off Hope Ranch. It continued west and we followed, getting great looks all the while. We peeled off the gray whale to investigate a gathering of about 25 coastal bottlenose dolphins close to the kelp beds at More Mesa. The #dolphins were quick to spread wide across the zone, perhaps looking for food. During the dolphin watching sequence a mother gray #whale and her calf came up from behind us. Dave idled the Condor and let the pair pass on our left side and we watched as the bottlenose dolphins “rode the bow” of the whales. It was a wonderful interaction to observe.
Next we turned offshore and about 3 miles or so south of Hope Ranch we located a vast mega pod of long-beaked common dolphins. The water clarity was better offshore and this enhanced the dolphin show quite a bit. At one point the dolphins, which were moving east, took us right past a very large ocean sunfish (or Mola mola). Wow! A second, smaller, pod of common dolphins were found offshore of Stearn’s Wharf. There were about 75 animals in the pod.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express
Today’s photos: www.CondorExpressPhotos.com
Reminder: All-Day Pelagic Bird Trip, Sunday May 17 (call (805) 882-0088 )