Gray whales and Risso’s dolphins on a bright sunny day.

2022 01-30 SB Channel

It was sunny and bright all day. All four islands and scenery from Boney Ridge to the east to Point Conception in the west were visible. A light chop and swell from the west died down after noon. Sightings for the trip included: 50 Risso’s dolphins, 3 Pacific gray whales, 20 offshore bottlenose dolphins and 2000 long-beaked common dolphins.

Our first stop was to remove a large plastic object floating on the ocean surface which turned out to be ½ of a kids wading pool. Soon thereafter we stopped and the crew retrieved a large white deflated Mylar balloon to prevent harming marine animals.

When we reached the western end of Santa Cruz Island, a very friendly pod of Risso’s dolphins came to play with the Condor Express. They were in sub-groups of 5 or 6 spread out over a few hundred yards of ocean near the west end of Santa Cruz Island. Very nice looks were had by all.

Two small groups of 5 each offshore bottlenose dolphins were in the area and also paid us a visit.

Captain Devin then headed directly west across the Santa Cruz Channel and as we got close to Santa Rosa a trio of adult gray whales were intercepted. They were laser-focused on their eastbound pathway (which is how whales migrate south in our part of the coastline). Great to see!

On our way home and about 5 miles of the mainland coast we crossed paths with a mega pod of long-beaked common dolphins. It was a spectacular way to end the trip.

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

Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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