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Magnificent action mid-Channel and beyond.

2012 05-16 SB Channel

A private charter whale watch trip hit the jackpot with fantastic sightings, including 8 humpback whales, 3500 long-beaked common dolphins and 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola). Skies were overcast and winds were calm until we passed the NOAA East Channel data buoy.

Near the buoy there were several large surface bait balls mostly being worked by dolphins and sea birds with a dozen or so California sea lions. A single humpback was also in this zone and it made a wonderful close approach to the Condor Express. Soon a pair of humpbacks, then an additional singleton joined the subsurface feeding.

Captain Colton took the group on a tour of the majestic sea cliffs and caves along the northwestern face of beautiful Santa Cruz Island which included a look at the Painted Cave in moderately breezy and “fresh” conditions.

Soon after our island departure 2 very large whales were watched and a dingle surface lunge-feed took place right next to the boat for everyone to see. Wow! Further along the route back to Santa Barbara, about 7 miles from shore, a mother humpback with a calf was watched.

Closer to shore, deckhand and chief executive wildlife spotter, Devin, put us on one of the largest ocean sunfish (Mola mola) anyone on board has ever seen. It swam around and under the boat and an adjacent floating kelp paddy.

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

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