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Four friendly gray whales and lots of dolphins

2016 03-27 SB Channel

Two excursions left the docks today, the 12 noon and the 3 pm afternoon trips.  Conditions were good, you might say even excellent along the immediate coast.  The highlight of the day were four friendly gray whales. Here is a summary of our sightings:

12 noon Gray whales = 1 Long-beaked common dolphins = 20 Pacific white-sided dolphins = 50  (aka, Lags)

There were a few Lags just outside the entrance to Santa Barbara Harbor as we left the coast at noon.  It was a small group, but sightings were good.  Next Captain Eric and his crew ran up the coast a little ways to find common dolphins feeding on anchovies.  Birds were crashing and California sea lions joined the luncheon banquet.  About a mile further to the west, near the famous “blue house,” the only gray whale of the noon excursion was located.  It was a friendly whale and came over to the boat and rolled around which thrilled the whale fan club on the Condor Express.  On the way back a much larger group of Lags were encountered and they rode the bow and stern.

3 pm Gray whales = 3 Long-beaked common dolphins = 200+ Lags = 50

Eric took the boat east  right from the start and almost immediately keen-eyed deck hand Auggie had located a couple dozen Lags feeding on anchovies.  Continuing east to Carpinteria, nothing much was located so Eric bent his course offshore.  Here he found around 200 common dolphins in a nursery pod which Eric describes as “every mother had a calf.”  Off Summerland we followed 2 gray whales until they joined up with a third gray near East Beach.  At this point the grays did swim towards and then under the Condor Express with epic looks by all.  That made a total of four friendly gray whales for the day.  Wow.

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

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