2015 04-15 SB Coast
Mothers and Calves Day must have been declared in the Santa Barbara Channel today because we had the good fortune to see the following mothers with their calves: humpback whales, gray whales, and long-beaked common dolphins. It must be Spring… punctuated by the fact that we saw the same pair of mother and calf long-beaked common dolphins all by themselves, away from the main pod, on both trips.
9am. We escaped the moderate irregular wind swells from the west Channel by running east. The further we went east, the nicer things got. Our first mammal sighting away from the Harbor was the aforementioned cow-calf pair of common dolphins near Ty Warner’s estate. As we moved further offshore and eastward we came upon several hot spots filled with #dolphins, sea lions and various sea birds. We estimated at least 250 long-beaked common dolphins here. Interesting side note: our first Velella velella (Purple Sailors) of the Spring were floating in this area too. About 6 or 7 miles south of Rincon we encountered another 100 or so common dolphins. Finally, we ended the morning show with some GREAT looks at a mother humpback whale and her calf.
12 noon. Having seen no gray whales on the morning trip, Captain Dave decided to head west into the swells, which had subsided just a bit. We intercepted a quad pod of gray #whales off Leadbetter Beach and stayed with them past Hope Ranch. It was a pair of mother gray whales and their calves. They were very photogenic especially using the nearby beaches as their backdrop. A long visit later we turned offshore and almost immediately our eagle-eyed deckhand Augie found another wide area containing at least 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins. We followed and played until we found ourselves southeast of the Harbor and running short on time. What a fantastic day !
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express
See today’s photos online: www.CondorExpressPhotos.com