2015 11-13 SB Channel
Friday the 13th brings nothing but excellent luck and sightings for the Condor Express and its whale-loving guests. Once again the mild Santa Ana conditions have created a warm, sunny day with exceptional visibilities above and below the sea surface. For example, Captain Dave and 2nd Captain Eric spotted all 4 humpback whales we saw today at least 7 and perhaps 8 miles away. (It helped that their white spout spray was framed by the darker sea cliffs of Santa Cruz Island, but hey…..)
Not far outside the harbor we visited shortly with 5 Pacific white-sided dolphins that were foraging alongside a dozen or so California sea lions. We ran south for a half an hour after this and saw only a few more rafting sea lions in kelp paddies.
For the second trip in a row two exceedingly friendly humpback whales (of the 4 seen) headed straight for the Condor Express and stayed with us for just over an hour. These were NOT the same whales we had contact with on Wednesday’s trip, but were two very large (perhaps females) humpback whales with dark pectorals and unique, but not damaged, dorsal fins. Today’s pair hung motionless about 10 feet underwater and slowly milled around or logged directly under the boat. Each whale would slowly come out from under the hull, spy hop, and then spout. Next the humpback would slowly sink down a few feet and “hang out.” Give the crystal clear Santa Barbara cobalt conditions, of course we could see every tiny bump and hair on the humpbacks no matter whether they were relaxing submerged or on the surface. The whole encounter was much more gentle and less animated than Wednesday.
After parting ways, we moved a few hundred yards east and found a small pod of 125 or more long-beaked common dolphins. There were many juveniles in the pod, larger than a newborn calf but still swimming close to mom.
What a day! Conditions should be similar and great again tomorrow. Hope to see you on board.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. (That’s for sure!) Bob Perry CondorExpressPhotos.com