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Lots of interspecies behaviors, awesome conditions, and a blue whale.

2021 12-11 SB Channel

It was so gorgeous in the Channel today that all 4 islands, from Anacapa to San Miguel, were clearly visible. Our trek took us from a brief coastal search to a Channel crossing ending up in the Santa Cruz Channel (between Santa Cruz Island and Santa Rosa Island). Sightings included: 2 coastal bottlenose dolphins, 400 long-beaked common dolphins, 75 offshore bottlenose dolphins and 1 blue whale.

The first sighting of the day was a pair of coastal bottlenose dolphins that we followed for a while near the mouth of the harbor. Captain Dave then proceeded west, up the coast, to a hot spot 6 miles south of UCSB. Here we watched several hundred common dolphins feeding accompanied by a equally abundant mass of seabirds.

After crossing the Channel (as mentioned above) Dave ran up into the Santa Cruz Channel. Here we enjoyed magnificent views of the western end of Santa Cruz Island and the eastern end of Santa Rosa. We also located a single blue whale. It was a small animal, probably a juvenile. And after watching several breathing cycles and assuming it was feeding on krill subsurface, a large pod of offshore bottlenose dolphins came into the zone. The whale’s behavior moved from regular feeding to high-speed racing. It appeared to be chasing the equally fast-moving dolphins at speeds approaching 14 or 15 knots. What a wonderful interspecies interaction we witnessed.

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

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