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Humpback tail throws and much more

2016 03-25 SB Channel

Another super warm sunny, summer-like day with light winds.  There was a moderate bump due to winds in the far western Santa Barbara Channel, but nothing to write home about.  (This report does not count as “writing home”)  Captain Dave and his talented team racked up some impressive sightings on today’s two excursions:  4 gray whales, 5 humpback whales (including some nice tail throws), 3 inshore bottlenose dolphins, 225 or more long-beaked common dolphins, and about 30 Lags (Pacific white-sided dolphins).

9am Early in the morning excursion there was a light breeze that blew cool air across the ocean surface, but it died quickly and things got glassy and warm.  We followed a pair of gray whales that were a bit shy, but persistence paid off and we had good looks. Both were juveniles, as were the members of the second pair of gray whales which came along about 20 minutes after the first pair.  Again, we were patient and this paid dividends.  The trip ended with a great show as deck hand Auggie had located a lot of splashing and commotion a few miles south of our gray whales.  On the scene we were treated to a prolonged display of tail throws  by an adult humpback whale, interspersed with trumpet blows and some rolling.

12 noon Just after passing the outer harbor buoy, the red and white one, we got ourselves surrounded by at least 150 common dolphins.  They were mostly feeding and focused, but no common dolphin ever resists the chance to play on the bow and stern waves of the Condor Express, even if they are hungry.  Dave spent a considerable amount of time on this spread-out group of commons, as there were quite a few calves in the mix and fun to observe.  As for the morning excursion, tall spouts were seen further outside, and soon we were about 4 miles off the Mesa, and following a pair of humpback whales.  Another small group of 25 common dolphins drifted through the zone, and before long we moved the boat to another pair of knobby-headed cetaceans.  The trip ended with a medium sized hot spot just outside the harbor entrance where 50 common dolphins, 30 Lags, dozens of sea lions and various sea birds were working an anchovy bait ball.

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

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