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Crystal water clarity and marine life explosion!

2022 05-24 SB Channel

In addition to the glass flat seas today, of special note was the extremely blue, clear ocean water. Captain Devin, who cut his Santa Barbara Channel teeth crewing on SCUBA boats, guessed visibilities throughout were in excess of 100 feet. Sightings were phenomenal, including: 200 California sea lions, 60+ (conservative estimate) ocean sunfish (Mola mola), 9+ humpback whales and 300 long-beaked common dolphins, and, for you seabird enthusiasts, 2 tufted puffins.

Just outside the harbor we pulled up and watched an enormous northern anchovy bait ball on the surface…using the aforementioned water clarity to our advantage. A pod of about 300 dolphins was here feeding.

Three miles off The Mesa we spent quality time with a very friendly and active mother humpback and her calf. There was a dozen or so breaches by each. Other behaviors included rolling around, upside-down swimming, pectoral fin slapping, tail slapping and…LOTS of muggings all around the boat. Again, that clear water!

A bit further south, we started passing lots of schools of ocean sunfish (Mola mola), with between 10 and 50 little dinner plate sized fish. The blue water also revealed loads of jellies and siphonophores…aka, Mola food! Nobody on board has ever seen so many of them on one trip.

In the southbound shipping lane, north of Quail Rock, we watched a single humpback whale that rolled around a bit, and a pair that mugged the boat sides, bow and jet wash. At least 200 California sea lions were in the zone. Soon thereafter, and nearby, a group of 4 more whales was watched. Wow!

On the way home: more Mola mola and 2 tufted puffins.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry Condor Express, and

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