Image: A humpback with common dolphins and shearwaters.
2023 6-29 SB Channel
Although it was overcast at the start of the trip, thing got sunny and bright later with flat seas. Captain Dave and the crew took a more westerly route today and had wonderful sightings: 7 humpback whales, 3500 long-beaked common dolphins and 100 California sea lions.
We were 6 miles south of Goleta Bay when we encountered our first two mega pods of dolphins moving east. Each had nearly a thousand animals and were accompanied by a lot of seabirds attracted to the dolphins feeding and their prey.
A mile behind the dolphins we watched a very large adult whale, following the dolphins and moving east. Five miles later we found 3 single whales with more dolphins. One of them did a strange thing: it had probably engulfed anchovies beneath the surface but as it was swimming upwards. What we saw was a whale lunging up, out of the water with its mouth closed…some water and lots of air escaped its lips…making an audible chattering sound. Others whales here did some rolling, socializing and vocalizing as everything moved east. Soon these 3 whales joined the big adult mentioned above.
After following all the animals east, we were now southwest of Platform Habitat where 2 more whales joined the traveling masses. A lot of dolphins broke away and surfed the wake waves of the Condor Express. On the way home, about 4 miles from the harbor, we found another whale.
California sea lions were scattered among the feeding dolphins all day.
You never know what mother nature has in store.
Condor Express, and