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Grays, Humpbacks, Lags and Commons

2016 03-13 SB Channel

Happy daylight savings time! Captain Eric ran the show today and total sightings included 2 gray whales (more in the distance), 2 humpback whales (more in the distance), 50 Pacific white-sided dolphins, and about 550 long-beaked common dolphins. The morning trip had calm seas, but the afternoon trip ran into a bit of wind and a choppy surface. Here’s the Captain’s story:

9am About ½ mile out from Santa Barbara Harbor the Condor Express came into a small hot spot with California sea lions and about 50 Pacific white-sided dolphins all working on a bait ball. After a nice ride-a-long with these “Lags,” we received a call from a commercial work boat indicating a possible humpback whale sighting. So off we went towards Platform C to find a humpback whale that has short up and long down times. Everyone got looks though.

Working to the north, about 2 miles off Summerland, a large pod of at least 500 common dolphins were encountered and they took advantage of every hydrodynamic feature the Condor Express had to offer them. After the dolphin sighting we headed back to the harbor. On the way we found one gray whale heading north. It was a smaller whale, perhaps a juvenile.

12 noon After leaving Santa Barbara harbor the wind quickly filled-in from the north west. With the wind the ocean surface became moderately bumpy almost simultaneously.   This did not deter finding cetaceans and right away keen-eyed deck hand Auggie located a single gray whale. We had several nice looks at this whale but it was heading west and into the prevailing wind and seas. Captain Eric turned the boat east and provided a prolonged period of much calmer travel.

Near the coast of Carpinteria we located an area with a single humpback whale and about 50 long-beaked common dolphins. It looked like there may have been some sub-surface feeding going on as both species stayed within the same tight radius for quite a while.   The trip back home was a bit rocky, but Eric took it slow and easy.

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

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