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Gray whales change course to avoid Kelp Farm and potential entanglement!

Image: a northbound gray whale moves along the beautiful Santa Barbara coast


2024 03-05 SB Coast


Blue skies and calm seas prevailed for our 12-noon adventure. The water clarity was excellent. Sightings included: 3 gray whales, 1000 long-beaked common dolphins and 15 coastal bottlenose dolphins.


Captain Dave and the crew ran straight south out of the harbor and past the Kelp Farm. When we were 5 miles out, we started watching a trio of northbound gray whales that were heading northwest, on a diagonal course towards the coast. Their heading was directly into the Kelp Farm, with all its vertical lines seafloor moorings and surface buoys. Remarkably, the trio turned away and altered their course to avoid the farm and its obstacles!  A new gray whale behavior for me!


About 1½ miles inside the whales we watched two pods of common dolphins. We spent most of our time with the first pod, the larger of the two.


On our way home we slowly passed by 15 coastal bottlenose dolphins and had good looks.


You never know what Mother Nature has a store.


Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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