Jumping mini-Molas, breaching humpbacks, 2 species of jumping dolphins and a couple of nice Minke wh
2021 05-12 SB Channel – East
Seas were flat and calm until late in the trip when a gentle breeze wafted across the Channel. Skies were gray with high stratus that is so common during May and June when cool ocean temperatures meet and ever hotter land air mass. Sightings today were phenomenal: 6 humpback whales, 2 Minke whales, 500 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 200 long-beaked common dolphins and 6 tiny juvenile ocean sunfish (Mola mola).
Captain Dave and his crew set a course for the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island and along the way had marvelous conditions and plenty of wildlife. About 12 miles outbound from Santa Barbara Harbor 2 large adult humpback whales were encountered along with numerous seabirds and a single Minke whale. All were feeding subsurface on northern anchovy schools.
Shortly after our 2 adult whales, a massive, spread-out pod of offshore bottlenose dolphins located the Condor Express. They were very boat-friendly and many calves were seen in the pod.
Continuing to a point just north of Prisoner’s Harbor and north of The Lanes, second Captain Colton, known for his keen eyes and sharp mind, spotted another pair of jumbo adult humpback whales. As we watched the twosome, it turned out that one was the famous “Black Rakes.” (Id CRC-16078, Sex Unknown, also known as HW-MN0500010. It was first reported off Dana Point on 07/20/2014.)
On the way home a breach in the distance let us to a very friendly humpback whale that spent some time right next to the boat, and another in the near distance.
One of the highlights of the trip was the presence of tiny juvenile ocean sunfish (Mola mola) throughout the Channel. All of them were actively jumping (breaching) and so fun to watch.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com