2015 06-09 SB Channel
It rained all day today from light rain to moderately heavy (big drops) rain. A day for only the most hearty camera, but a day with tremendous numbers of cetaceans. As we left Santa Barbara and Captain Dave did his well-honed talk about the oil platforms, we drifted slowly near Platform Bravo. Today Bravo was burning off gas and the bold, bright flame lit up the dreary, rainy sky. Continuing south, we watched our first humpback, of the 12 we saw today, about a mile north of Habitat in the rain.
This single #whale was accompanied by 200 or so long-beaked common dolphins, and as the whale came and went, up and down, we noticed it was our old pal “Top Notch.” Regular readers will remember that Top Notch is a friendly whale with a distinctly notched dorsal fin.
45 minutes later we were now about a mile west of Habitat, in the rain, we watched 3 more humpback whales and 200 more common dolphins. This was an area rich with sooty shearwaters all flying around in random search patterns near the whales and #dolphins. Next, we were off to Santa Cruz Island. Seas were very calm and it was still raining.
Dave put the bow of the Condor Express into the world famous Painted Cave and passengers up front felt the water running off the island and falling on the water (and boats). It was not a full-fledged waterfall as the ground is apparently so dry it soaked up all of the heavy rainfall that the early morning radar showed passing through this end of the island. Call it a “holy cross” baptism, based on the Spanish name for this beautiful island. As we left the island we encountered a large pod of 100 or more offshore bottlenose dolphins in the rain.
It was an uneventful and wet ride across the Channel back to Santa Barbara, until we were about 4½ miles off the beach. Here we found the largest and most productive hot spot of the day. There were at least 8 humpback whales in this spot feeding alongside about 100 common dolphins, sea lions, and tons of our hungry feathered friends.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store…or when it will rain. Bob Perry Condor Express
PS I’m just curious. If you read this whole report and received it in your email, drop me a note at Mr.Zalophus@gmail.com. Thanks.