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Gray Whales, Humpback Whales and Dolphins Galore !


2015 03-31 SB Coast

The Condor Express ran three coastal whale watching trips today (9am, 12 noon and 3 pm). The morning began with a thin low cloud, gloomy layer and a moderate breeze wafting across a light to medium bump caused by high winds far to the west. Things got sunnier and flatter very quickly, and before long we were in mirror glass conditions for the remainder of the day.

At 9am we ran west to find a total of 6 northbound gray whales. The first sighting was a pair of #whales off More Mesa, followed by a singleton off Campus Point. The last good looks we had were of 3 gray whales off Ellwood. There were additional spouts in the area that we did not have time for.

On the noon excursion we ran the opposite direction and almost immediately found ourselves surrounded by at least 350 long-beaked common dolphins. The #dolphins were moving around at random and many took advantage of the aluminum catamaran play toy.   We left this pod of #dolphins and continued west out to the Flats where we had good looks at another pod of long-beaked commons, perhaps 50 or so in that group. Finally, the tall spouts we had been hoping for appeared on the surface.  It was two humpback whales, not together, but within the same general area. One was Scarlet, our old pal.   These whales gave us great looks, but had long bottom times.   That’s the trade-off sometimes, good surface time after a long down time.

On the 3pm trip the swell from the western reaches of the Channel had started to build, and when we encountered a large pod of 300 or more long-beaked common dolphins, we were enthralled by a group of six or so individuals that were “getting air,” as they use the oncoming seas to launch themselves high in the air as a group. Wow. Next up on the sightings was a mother gray whale and her calf. They moved slowly along the coast and were accompanied by 2 juvenile whales that would swim ahead of the cow-calf pair, then circle back to remain with them.   Finally, there was another pod of 200 or so long-beaks to round out another fantastic day in the Santa Barbara Channel.

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

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