2020 09-07 SB Channel Far East
Captain Colton and the crew reported flat, glassy seas all day in our part of the Santa Barbara Channel. Skies ranged from smoky near the mainland to foggy in the land of the giants. Sightings today included: 6+ giant blue whales, 100 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 500 long-beaked common dolphins and 10 coastal bottlenose dolphins.
Per usual, when we encounter coastal bottlenose dolphins this time of year it usually takes place near the harbor. The 10 we spotted today were near the entrance buoys and kept to themselves as they moved east. We’d see a much larger pod of their offshore cousins later in the trip as we watched the whales. About 7 miles offshore, in the morning, we started picking up small, scattered groups of common dolphins.
The land of the giants hot spot moved a bit and was located north of The Lanes today, but still adjacent to the easternmost tip of Santa Cruz Island. Our initial sighting was of 4 blue whales and we were able to closely watch 3 of them. One came very close to the boat and kicked up its tail flukes. Nearby we watched a single then another pair of blues. When the herd of offshore bottlenose dolphins came through the whale zone, several were seen bow-riding (technically “rostrum-riding”) the whales and jumping all around their heads. More giant blues were all around us, but the fog density increased and visibility dropped to near zero in this area.
More common dolphins were seen on the ride home. Boat Colton gave a tour of offshore oil Platform B, and talked about oil and gas in the Channel.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com