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Gray whales, Risso’s and commons – awesome conditions

2019 12-31 SB Channel

Happy New Year (tomorrow) to everyone! We had a fabulous trip today with an “all four islands” vista. A light dusting of snow still remains on the Santa Ynez range above Carpinteria. Seas were relatively calm and so were the winds. Captain Dave and the crew located: 200 California sea lions (in one small area), 50 Risso’s dolphins, 20 long-beaked common dolphins and 2 gray whales.

Right at the mouth of Santa Barbara Harbor our eagle (osprey)-eyed deckhand, Devin, spotted spouts several miles to the east and inside the Carpinteria oil rig line. This turned out to be a pair of adult gray whales migrating east (which is how you go south when you swim along the coastline in Santa Barbara). Captain Dave put us in a great position to follow these magnificent beasts and get great looks.

On our way across the Channel to Santa Cruz Island, a tiny pod of common dolphins located the Condor Express and everyone enjoyed the view of this small bunch of animals. Dave took us on a very nice tour of the northwestern sea cliffs of the Island and we had wonderful looks at the world’s longest sea cave, the Painted Cave.

Not far out from The Cave we encountered a large, widely spread out group of Risso’s dolphins that rode the waves around us in groups of 2 to 5 animals. The Risso’s led us to (and through) a large mob of California sea lions which are always fun.

It was a special “last day of the decade” day on the Channel. You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry Condor Express, and

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