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Killer whales and, earlier, a super pod of Risso’s dolphins.

2021 12-12 SB Channel

Captain Devin and his crew hit the jackpot. The skies were clear and sunny; seas were calm. Sightings for the day included 998 long-beaked common dolphins, 500+ Risso’s dolphins and 5 Bigg’s killer whales. I was in NorCal and, once again, missed the action. Sigh.

About 5 miles SE of Santa Barbara Harbor, we watched our first pod of Risso’s dolphins. It was a small pod with about 20 individuals. They were boat-friendly and we stayed with them for a good amount of time.

Moving a few miles further along our SE track, a megapod of Risso’s dolphins was encountered. I’ve personally never seen (or even heard of) such a huge pod in the Channel. Devin says there were “well over 500 animals stretched over more than a mile of ocean.” This group, too, was very friendly and showed some aerial action with belly flops and jumping.

Our final stop was the longest. Just a few miles off the eastern end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island we found 5 members of the CA 122 pod (ID by deckhand and photographer Adam). They had just killed a common dolphin and soon began to hunt more of them. Soon they had taken a second animal fairly close to the Condor Express. (Please see Adam’s photograph above showing this attack.) Some apres kill behaviors soon took place with socializing, spy-hopping and so forth. A common dolphin herd of about 1000 animals was slightly reduced in size.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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