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Humpbacks in the Wind

2016 05-24 SB Channel

Today was an unusually wonderful weather day on the Santa Barbara Channel.  It was moderately windy with small white caps everywhere all day long, but there was no noticeable swell.  It was rather like being out on a lake with some wind blowing.  Of course these same winds cleared out the area and not only was it sunny and somewhat warm, but all 4 northern Channel Islands were easily seen.

Captain Dave did not get too far offshore when the boat was surrounded by group after group of long-beaked common dolphins.  Perhaps 1,000 total is a good estimate.  They were mixed in with even higher numbers of sooty shearwaters that were sitting on the water, diving  down for anchovies, and taking flight as the Condor Express sailed by…a case of a big bird getting the smaller ones moving !

Next up on the agenda, Dave and Auggie located three humpback whales, with another couple in the vicinity.  We stayed with two that had short down times, smoking spout sprays and frequent fluking.  Although we located these humpback whales about 5 miles west of Habitat, they constantly moved north during the sighting period and took us back almost to Charlie.   Several hot spots teaming with another 1,500 dolphins, thousands of shearwaters, brown pelicans and a few gulls developed quickly, and just as quickly dissipated.   Our sense was that the whales were getting larger schools of anchovies deep, while the birds and dolphins (and a bunch of California sea lions) fed on the surface fish.

The rest of the trip included a tour of the eastern end of Santa Cruz island and beautiful Potato Harbor.

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

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