2021 06-18 SB Channel
A special morning trip left the harbor at 8am and returned at 1pm. Skies had a high, gray, stratus layer all day and the ocean was glassy smooth. Captain Dave and the crew crossed the Channel and stopped along the way to watch marine mammals. Sightings included 4 humpback whales, 100 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 800 long-beaked common dolphins and 30 California sea lions.
Small groups of common dolphins ranging in size from 20 to 50 animals first found the Condor Express near the East Channel NOAA Buoy, and were with us most of the day thereafter.
North of The Lanes our first humpback whale was a small juvenile accompanied by 30 California sea lions. The mirror glass water greatly enhanced the sighting. Dave moved the boat to the west end of Santa Cruz Island where another juvenile whale, not as small as the first, was observed along with common dolphins.
On the way back home from the island and in The Lanes, a very boat-friendly pod of 100 offshore bottlenose dolphins introduced themselves and to their many little calves. It was magical.
Further along the route home, a strong oceanic front had collected loads of detached, floating giant kelp paddies and other debris that come from 2 currents colliding. Often called “current breaks” by fishermen, they are known to be productive. Today we found two very large adult whales in the debris field and they went about “kelping” for quite a while. This included loads of rolling around in the algae, lying upside down with pectoral fins in the air, draping kelp across their knobby heads, and, finally some nice close approaches to the Condor Express. Wow!
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com