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Humpbacks and Dolphins and the Cave

2015 06-17 SB Channel Another mega day for humpback whales and common dolphins.

After leaving the sea lions on the Santa Barbara visitors bureau welcoming buoy in our wake, it was not long before the keen eyes of deck hand Eric spotted some dolphin and humpback whale activity ahead. Although the activity was spread out and highly moveable, we ended up watching 10 #whales and at least 2000 long-beaked common dolphins here. Both cetacean species were moving around as the anchovy schools down deep shifted their position. There were no crash-feeding pelicans and not too many elegant terns.   The region was awash with sooty shearwaters though. There were six breaching events, all were “onesies” and they were spontaneous in their timing and geographic distribution.   Albeit fun to see, but challenging to photograph.   One of the most active whales slapped its tail flukes, waved its long pectorals, and sounded the trumpet.

Next we ran south for a nice visit to Santa Cruz Island and a penetration of the world-famous Painted Cave. Before we ran 2 or 3 miles we found 4 more whales and 500 additional #dolphins.   It was another activity spot with all the feeding taking place deep.

The cave had a bunch of pigeon guillemots flying in and out. And we found a nice beach with two nice mammal sights:   a bunch of California sea lions hauled out on the sand, and, nearby, a group of Pacific harbor seals on the intertidal rocks.

We headed home, on time and on budget. About 4 miles from shore there was a breaching whale that caught everyone’s attention.   It turned out to be two whales:   a mother humpback and her acrobatic calf.

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

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