2017 05-01 SB Coast
Spectacular weather and sea conditions continued today as the Condor Express successfully ran two excursions along the coast of Santa Barbara. Totals for the day included: 7 gray whales and 3 humpback whales. Numerous sea lions were all over the zone and the bait barge had 13 Pacific harbor seals on it. A lone elephant seal crawled up the boat launching ramp and rested near the boat trailers in the parking lot for a while. Great weather, great sightings once again!
12 noon The first cow-calf gray whale pair was picked up at the blue house, Hope Ranch, and followed up to More Mesa. These were fairly shy, but the weather was so nice, we were able to follow them underwater by the reflection off their white skin patches and barnacles. Later we ran further west, past UCSB to Sands Beach and found a trio of gray whales. There was a mother and calf plus a juvenile traveling together.
3 pm A very light sea breeze provided nice relief from the warm sun. Our first gray whales of this excursion were a mother and her calf and were located well offshore at the old lighthouse. Two gray whale watching boats were already on the scene and Captain Eric stayed well outside and to the back of them. The whales were a bit shy and took up a zig-zag swim pattern. Soon a small power boat came down at the whales from the west. Despite our attempts to hail them on the VHF, and waving our arms up on the flying bridge, the boat continued on an intercept path. My some miracle, the whales were just deep enough to escape being cut by their outboard propeller. We left the scene and decided to explore deeper waters.
About 8 miles out, our deckhand Tasha located tall spouts that turned out to be 3 large humpback whales moving south. The sea surface was glassy and there were several hundred sooty shearwaters resting on the surface. We had great looks at these humpback whales; they fluked-up regularly. How great is it to see gray whales and humpbacks on the same trip! Great weather, great sightings once again!
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express