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July 18, 2016 – Santa Barbara –

2016 07-18 SB Channel

It was a 1 pm departure for the Condor Express after serving a special summer program at UCSB in the morning slot.  The good news about an afternoon departure is that the sun was bright and warm.  There was not much of a swell, but there was a light chop from the southwest wind that was blowing.  Totals for the day included at least 1,300 long-beaked common dolphins and 3 giant blue whales.  Here are the details.

By 135pm Captain Dave had us 3 miles southwest of Santa Barbara harbor with our first cetaceans:  a few hundred very cordial dolphins.  They were feeding on scattered schools of sardines and smelt (perhaps grunion) and were seen speeding around upside-down just under the water surface.  We continued on our southwesterly heading.

An hour or so later we had passed across The Lanes and were coming up on The Ledge adjacent to the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island.  Here we located the blue whales which were probably the same individuals that we watched yesterday.  There were two large whales, one of which was massive, and a third blue whale that was smaller, but not a calf.  Two of the blue whales had tags attached which were placed by scientists in the Channel, as regular readers will recall.

As we cruised home, a much larger assemblage of dolphins found us and provided a nice closure to our whale watching today.

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

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