It was a sunny day in the Santa Barbara Channel, glassy near the mainland and a little breezy near the Island. Total sightings for the trip included 2 humpback whales, 1 Minke whale and 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins. Here’s the scoop:
Just outside Santa Barbara Harbor several groups of feeding dolphins were found swimming upside down (high speed feeding position) on the glassy surface chasing small patches of northern anchovies. After this initial batch of dolphins, Captain Dave steered a southwest course towards Santa Cruz Island until he reached mid-Channel. Here he changed course and headed directly west to make some headway in that direction for a better, smoother approach to the Islands later.
It was near the East Channel Buoy that a larger hot spot, visible due to numerous crashing brown pelicans, was located by The Man With The Binoculars, deckhand (and 2nd Captain) Eric. Lots of feeding dolphins were seen under the sea birds, and this location also produced two nice humpback whales. By “nice” I mean they both showed tail flukes on every dive…always a crowd pleaser. A lone Minke whale also worked the periphery of this hot spot.
On our way to Santa Cruz Island we saw the 32,000 ton bulk carrier “Starry Sky” moving up the northbound Lane to Point Conception where it would be making an abrupt left turn for the Port of Kawasaki, Japan for an August 14 docking.
At the western end Captain Dave delivered his famous talk about local plate tectonics, the aboriginal population and current ownership of Santa Cruz Island. He also put the Condor Express into the mouth of the world-famous Painted Cave where there were no pelagic red crabs today.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express