2015 08-17 SB Channel
Flat, calm and even glassy sea conditions returned to the Santa Barbara Channel making great whale watching possible. Skies remained cloudy with a thin marine layer until just after 100 pm. The following are total estimated numbers of individuals watched closely today: humpback whales = 14 (more in the area); Minke whale = 1; long-beaked common dolphins = 2,700; offshore bottlenose dolphins = 250.
The Minke sighting was early and it was a large and very cooperative animal. It maintained a straight course and surfaced regularly. A hundred or so common #dolphins were in the immediate area. We headed further offshore and about 45 minutes later followed 2 humpback whales, one of which fluked up on every dive, shallow or deep.
Further offshore and about 25 minutes later we watched 4 more humpback #whales and a few hundred common dolphins. Ten minutes after that we had another 3 humpbacks around the area. No special tricks were observed from the humpbacks today except for a few very close and friendly approaches to the Condor Express.
A nice visit to the western end of Santa Cruz Island accompanied Captain Dave’s narration and included a great visit to the world-famous Painted Cave. After the Cave tour we reversed course and started on a line towards Santa Barbara.
Around 110 pm and after we crossed the Lanes, deck hand (and 2nd Captain) Eric spotted a vast, 1-mile diameter region, with at least 250 offshore bottlenose dolphins spread out and feeding. They showed only a mild interest in the boat and went about their business.
Finally, about 4 miles offshore, we spotted a few more humpback whales and another 200 common dolphins to round out this fantastic day of cetacean watching.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express