Another epic adventure of the Condor Express, Friday, September 2, 2016. The total for each species sighted does not tell much about what made the day so special, but here are the numbers: humpback whales = 9+; long-beaked common dolphins = 1,500; one mob of California sea lions = 300+ . Please read on.
Captains Dave and Tasha took turns at the helm and ran up the coast along the 50, as this swath has been very successful this week. Offshore, but about even with The Campus, Tasha spotted the first 4 humpback whale spouts. The whales stayed with us for a while and they got great looks at the big aluminum boat with all the humans.
Conditions were gray with a low stratus layer, but consequently sea conditions improved a lot over the past two days. Captain Dave made a decision to explore further offshore and to take advantage of the calmer seas. Sea conditions got even better near Santa Cruz Island where a rich monologue came across the PA on the subject of all things SCI…it was Dave doing what he does best. But read on!
As we departed the world famous Painted Cave and were almost into The Lanes, at least 5 more humpback whale, probably more, came over to have a look. Three adult whales were beguiled by the presence of Captain Tasha on the flying bridge, came over and “mugged” us for a few minutes. It was like time stood still. At one point the same three happened to locate a very voluminous, large, free-floating giant kelp paddy. Soon the three beasts were shredding up the same paddy and bits of giant kelp together sending shards of seaweed into the atmosphere Tasha called the trio “The Kelp Assassins.”
As if all that were not enough for one trip, a bit further along our route a mega-mob of at least 300 California sea lions all rafting together. We regularly see rafts of two, three maybe a few more. But this many brown furry mammals in one mass was absolutely amazing. It was truly an epic adventure.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express