2019 07-18 SB Channel
Calm seas, clear water, and mostly sunny skies characterized our neck of the Santa Barbara Channel today. Wildlife sightings were also excellent. Closely watched numbers for the day: 6+ humpback whales, 3000 long-beaked common dolphins, and 3 Risso’s dolphins. The Condor Express ran pretty much a straight course from the harbor out to the west end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island. Not far along our course, the first of countless numbers of dolphins located the boat. Common dolphins would be with us all day long. There were many opportunities to watch these marvelous situations feeding on the abundant bait balls that were clearly visible due to the magnificent water clarity. A bit further along brought us to a group of 4 whales. They were pretty busy feeding just below the surface. One of the four did a surface lunge similar to what was reported yesterday. It let loose a straight line of bubbles, relatively short and quick, before it broke the surface and gobbled down thousands of little fish. Is this some kind of “bubble wall” fishing? Continuing on our course, we passed numerous large bait balls, and Captain Dave stopped so we could look down in the water and see millions of these little fish. Utterly amazing!
Out at the island, Dave gave his interpretation of the history, geology, prehistoric human settlements, and modern ecological concerns regarding this, our largest California island. He also took the boat inside the first chamber of the world famous Painted Cave! As we left the cave we found 3 individual Risso’s dolphins traveling at a little bit of a distance from each other. We thought it unusual to find the only 3 since they typically travel in bigger pods. On the way home, we watch more dolphins and 2 more whales. There were additional whales at the edge of our visual range that we did not have time to pursue. You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry
Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com