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Breaching whales, hundreds of dolphins and a mob of sea lions.

2012 11-19 SB Channel

A high stratus layer kept things cool and calmed the sea surface. Captain Dave transected the Channel from Santa Barbara Harbor to Santa Cruz Island and had some fabulous marine mammal interactions. Sightings included: 7 humpback whales, 2000 long-beaked common dolphins and 60 California sea lions.

After a short run to the west our first 2 whales were located about 5 miles off UCSB. They were good tail flukers and their long dive times suggested feeding subsurface. The area was also rich with about 500 nearby dolphins and loads of seabirds. As if someone flipped a switch, the dolphins took off on a high speed “stampede” to the west and disappeared.

A few miles further south brought us a mother humpback with her calf. Great looks at this pair were had by all. Several miles closer to the island we found a female named “Jetson” that had previously been reported from both Monterey and Mexico.

Our last whales consisted of a pair of adults near The Lanes. Both animals breached individually and sent chills down our spines. The active whales were surrounded by a mega pod of dolphins.

Captain Dave toured the spectacular sea cliffs, crevices and grottos along the north face of the island and concluded his narrated introduction by putting the Condor Express into the first chamber of the world famous Painted Cave. After exiting The Cave and moving down the coast a bit we encountered a tight mob of active sea lions. What fun!

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and

PS: Sign up now for the Santa Barbara Harbor Holiday Parade of Lights to be held on December 12.

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